STRAVA Summary

Sunday, December 18, 2011

No Western States

So I didn't get picked in the Western States 100 lottery, which is what I expected, so no great loss there. Maybe next year. But watching the podcast of the lottery live, sort of left me wondering, is it possible to get into the race at all. Out of 89 Canadians in the lottery only 4 got in, and only about 8 international runners. Pretty dismal prospects for non US runners. But maybe it will be better next year. I've read many different opinions about how the lottery should be changed or the application/qualification process should be different. One that I agree with is that to qualify you must have at least have completed one 100 miler. The present system of allowing 50 miler runners in just isn't helping to allow 100 milers a chance to get in. A race that is in such high demand should only be accessible to those that have completed a 100 miler. Well thats my thoughts about that. On the injury front, things are definitely improving. The bursitis in the heel is, while still there, much better. It has become manageable and not a bother when I run. I feel better when I'm running and I've noticed that I'm running a little stronger. I think the strength work is having an effect. I've also started running on Monday nights now too, weather depending. So the mileage will start to get longer now. After New Years I'll start running on Saturdays too and running lots of hills. I may be ready for Green Jewel in March yet, but will I realize I'm ready before it sells out. Now that I now Western States is a no go, what next? I might look at the Niagara 100k, but running on pavement for that kind of distance and on 3 out and backs may be a little mind numbing. We'll see! I also have to make arrangements for the annual run to Orillia and back. Hopefully in a couple of weeks I'll have a better idea as to what I'll be trying to do next year.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Where Have I Been?

Well again I have been very negligent in updating my blog, so I will try to recap what has been going on since my last entry in October.  It should be quite quick as I haven’t been doing a lot.
Races: I’ve done none since the Borden Half, but I have registered for a couple. I believe I had already blogged about signing up for the North Coast 24 hour race in September of next year in Cleveland. Since then I have registered for the Vermont 100 mile endurance race at the end of July. Crewed there last year for Catherine and found it to be a great event that made me think about wanting to run it, so now it’s done. On November 12th I registered for the Western States 100 lottery. I figured I might as well try now as I probably won’t get in at the first attempt, and the more you try the better your chances. The lottery application process ends on November 26th and the lottery itself takes place on December 10th. The race is June 23 – 24th.  I would love to get in and make a holiday out of it.  Other than that I haven’t signed up for anything else as I will wait to see what will happen with WS100 first.

  On the injury front I had a problem with the lower back which would radiate down the left (yes left for a change) leg. This wouldn’t bother my running at all or wasn’t caused by my running. It was literally a pain when sitting, driving. Luckily with some ART from Dr. Frank and some exercises it is much better. Another chronic problem was the bursitis on my right heel which has steadily got worse, so finally I went to Sean (my Physio) and set me on my way with some exercises, Dr. Frank also helped out, albeit somewhat painfully. That problem, although still a problem, is also getting better. With the advent of all these issues and a few old ones I decided maybe it was time for some down time. So I have backed off my running to just 3 times a week and the long run on Sunday has been about 20k + only. So I have only been running about 40 to 45k a week.  I have also been doing a regular bowflex routine 3 times a week too, trying to build some strength where I need it.

  The running has been good Wednesdays and Fridays have usually been quicker than I have been running lately. If I can keep it up my speed may improve and I’ll be ready to get into increased distance and tempo work come the new year.  The plan is to start building my base up to long distances again, I wouldn’t mind doing the Green Jewel 50k again, but we will see if I can be ready for March. That might be asking a lot. Work on speed and strength, which are the two things I think I have been missing.

  Races I am interested in for next year:  Sulphur Springs 50 mile again, as are most of the Ontario ultra series, not sure about Seaton after last years wash out though. But how much worse could it get? Hahaha.
I guess returning to Burning River is out of the question now as Vermont is the week before.  Dirty girls is definitely an idea this year finally. Otherwise I am going to have to keep my options open. As usual, vacation time is always a limiting factor. We shall see.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Borden Half Marathon

It was a last minute decision which I was thinking I might regret, but on Saturday I decided to sign up for the Borden Half Marathon. It had been a few years since I had run a half marathon at Borden and this was now a completely different event and only in its second year. The previous incarnation was a partial trail run too, this one would be entirely on road, although a good portion was on a gravel road.

On Sunday morning Terry from Barrie stopped by to pick me up and we drove the short drive to Borden and got there fairly early, the race wasn’t scheduled to start till ten. We mingled with a few of the other early arrivers and as the time went by more and more RoadRunners showed up. A very good local turn out for sure.

My goal was to just put in the race and get a feeling for how my speed is. I thought that a 1:45 half would be a good time today and rumour had it that his wasn’t a very easy course.

At a few minutes to ten we were all lining up at the start getting ready go. It was gorgeous morning, sunny with a slight breeze and temperatures, although chilly to start were warming up, it was probably about 5C when we got there.

The race started and off we went quickly Dr. John, Aiden and Shawn Patton pulled in front of me and I let them pull away. This was my run and I would run it the way I wanted to, not by others paces. After about 2 km we came to the first hill and I found myself gaining on the others, I felt my pace was not excessive, but strong and I think the rest were struggling on the hill a bit. At 3 k I had to go to the bathroom and there after the aid station were porta potty’s so I ducked in to use one, Shawn was also doing the same, but he had other issues. I was quickly in and out and joined up with Rickymac as I came out. We ran together for a short bit, but I pulled a head of him. I passed Terry too, before Shawn caught me again. Another bigger hill ensued which I was able to take advantage of and pass quite a few runners again and gain on John and Aiden as well as Shawn. At about 6 k I had passed them all. I felt the pace was quick and maybe a little too fast, but I was feeling good at this point. Approaching about 7k the front runners were coming back at us from a turn around, so here was a chance to see how the rest of our group were doing compared to me. I didn’t see Shawn at this point but he may have been right behind me, at least I assumed he was. John and Aiden had slipped back quite a bit and I was surprised to see Rick ahead of Terry by a long shot as he seemed to be fading. Also saw Jim Tuttle before heading into the gravel roads through the woods. This was a nice stretch of quiet area and the crowd had thinned out a lot. There were a couple of runners in front who I was gaining on and were probably keeping my pace up faster than I normally would be. I was running well at this point and passed a couple more runners. At about the half way mark, there was not any one in front of me that I could see and without a rabbit in front to chase it was hard to keep the pace up. Also at about 12k I felt the tightness start up in my right side as usual. Also at this point another runner passed me, someone who I had passed earlier. That gave me someone to tail for a while. From a bout 12k to 16k we were still on the gravel road but it was all out in the open, the temperature had gone up and I had even removed my gloves. I was still following the runner in front of me, but he was pulling away slightly. A couple more runners had appeared ahead to as we gained on them. The stretch in the open seemed to go on for a long time, I didn’t like the gravel road as I was always looking for smooth section, but was slipping on it too. At about 16k we cam out on to the road again, hit an aid station and then a big climb which I decided to walk in its entirety. Two runners passed me on the climb, but I would catch them later. There was only one more climb after this a shorter one with about 2k left. I ran that with out a problem and finished strong, surprising my self with a 1:35:35 finish. I was surprised for a couple of reasons, 1) I forgot my watch and raced with out one for the first time. 2) I didn’t expect anything under 1:40 3) during the race I was not thinking that I would keep the pace up through out the race. 4) I didn’t expect to beat all the other Barrie RoadRunners.

Over all a good race personally, my fastest half in 3 years. A good event, nice course, good weather, good organization. My only complaint would be that they didn’t have any solid food at the end other than fruit. Bagels would have been nice. Having to buy Pizza wasn’t something that I know few people were happy about. I did, knowing some of the money was going to a good cause.
So although I thought I would regret doing the race, I didn't. I had a good race, a good time and maybe I'll do another half soon.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Vulture Bait

Yes, it’s been a while since my last posting, but there hasn’t been a lot to blog about. Generally the running has just been… well running. I had no real goals so I was just putting in the miles for the sake of general fitness, at the same time knowing that I would have to get the mileage up again at some point so I’d try and put in some decent mileage each week. I started running some early morning runs before work too, short 7k fartlek runs that would hopefully improve my speed. I was seeing some progress with these. With all the running though I still wasn’t feeling 100%, the nagging injuries haven’t gone away and I was struggling. So it was with trepidation that I signed up to run the Vulture Bait 50 k in London. What was I thinking? In hind site I think I wasn’t in the best shape I could be in, by far and I really didn’t train for the distance and maybe just took this race for granted. I think I had forgot that running 50k is not a piece of cake.
Regardless on Saturday (October 15th) morning we got up really early (5:00am), Joan had signed up to do the 25k too, her third one in a couple of months. We drove over to the car pool and picked up Chris Battaglia and off we went for the 2 and a half hour drive to Fanshaw Conservation area.
After a few pee breaks and stops at Tims etc., we arrived in a blustery, cool and slightly wet Fanshaw. Got our race kits and by the time we were dressed for the race it was time to start. We started down the hill from the chalet by the lake and while we were waiting for the start a pair bald eagles circled near by over the lake. It made my day and probably a few other’s day too. Awesome sight.
At 9 am the 300 25 and 50k runners were off. The course starts on grass for the first kilometer or so and then into some single track, a lot of runners trying to get sorted out into single track backed things up a bit, but we kept moving. The first aid station was just below the dam and I just passed through as I didn’t need anything. I was running with two hand helds for the first time in a race, one with perpetuem (another first) and the other just water. The perpetuem is only supposed to be sipped on every 15 to 20 minutes, so I was hoping that the one bottle would last the entire race. The plan was to sip on the perpetuem every 20 minutes, a gel at the top of each hour and an S-Cap at the bottom of each hour.
As the race progressed I was surprised by the amount of single track which made me very happy as I feel like I can run that for ever. There were a couple of roads here and there but a lot more trails. I tried to keep my pace to an easy run, but as usual I was probably faster than I need to. I was feeling very good and the course was very good. The rain started to become more of a constant rain and the trails were getting rather muddy, the high winds though were not really too much of a bother, as we were in the woods most of the time.
A couple of road sections in the second half were a bit of a pain, especially crossing the large bridge at about 19k. The wind was right in your face at this point. After the bridge it was back into the woods and a creek crossing, up over the ankles only so not too bad.
After I hit 20k though I felt the wheels coming off and I started to struggle. The last 5k back to the chalet, although it was nice rolling single track I was finding tough going. I started to question whether I had what it takes to get through the second loop. I was very tempted to call it a day when I came to the end of the loop. My time was a very respectable 2:15 for the first 25k and somehow I talked myself into continuing. I walked for a long stretch before starting to run again, from here on it was more of the same, run, walk, run. After a couple of k I seemed to get a second wind and was able to push myself for a bit before crossing the small walking bridge at the bottom of the course. The next stretch was more run, walk, run and I thought I was all by myself, but when I hit the road a the 17k (42k) mark about 3 runners passed me. I was walking all the paved roads at this point and when I crossed the large bridge I walked across it, despite the gale force winds blowing into my face and heavier rain. It was nice to get back in the shelter of the trails again, which were getting rather muddy at this point. That last 5k dragged on for ever. With about 1k to go I was coming down a slight hill when my right slipped inwards and I went down in a heap, no harm done and nobody saw me and the only evidence was the mud down my right side. I finally pulled my self across the finish line in 5:06:10, not quite the sub 5 hours I was hoping for and after the first loops thoughts of about a 4:30 finish, all thrown out the window.
In retrospect my lack of distance in training for my long runs was definitely a factor in my result and after thinking about the injuries I believe some strength training is required to get me back to where I should be.
Joan had a good run and pb’d by one minute in 2:42, despite some GI issues and Chris finished in 6:06. Chris also proceeded to do the Scotia waterfront marathon the next day finishing that in 4:40. He is the ultimate nut case in our group of runners.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lead Up to Simcoe Shores Relay

After 2 weeks of self imposed recovery from Burning River I was just itching to get back at it. To be honest I was feeling great after only a couple of days and think I could have run the following Wednesday. The only lingering affect from the race being my feet still feeling hot and somewhat swollen, so a week off wouldn’t hurt and because I was off to England the following week it rolled into 2 weeks. In hind site, I wish I had taken my running gear to England with me, as everywhere I went there were people running, reminding me about what I was missing. But I am sure that the 2 weeks off was the best thing I could have done.
Since returning from England I have been in overdrive running everyday and looking at increasing the training to include 2 runs a day at times (today being the first). I’m not normally a morning runner, but recently I have been awake long before the alarm so I figured I might as well start getting up and run even if it is only a shorter distance. So Monday morning I got up and ran a semi fartlek run for 7.2k and figured that would be a good morning run and I did the same again today. Today’s run would be the last early run for the week though as this weekend is the Simcoe Shores Relay, 240 km with a team of (in our case) 7 runners. The race starts Saturday morning. Our team is in the last (3rd) wave and don’t start until 10:30 am. We expect to be done on Sunday morning at about noon. It is a tour of Simcoe County form Barrie to Orillia, to Coldwater, Midland, Penetang, Wasaga Beach, Collingwood and finishes in the town of the Blue Mountains.
We did this last year and had a ball, the only draw back being that each runner will only get in about 40k of running over the 24 hours or so. Less if we have 7 runners, which may be the case. Theo is hurt and is going to try running but it doesn’t look good and Roger is out. Aidan is replacing Roger. So we may be down to 6 runners, which as far as I am concerned is ideal.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run

Saturday July 30th at 3:30 am and I was woken up by my Blackberry alarm. I was actually awake anyway in anticipation of doing my first 100 mile race at the Burning River 100 mile Endurance Run in North East Ohio. I had driven down from Ontario the day before with my crew of nine, yes that’s right nine. There could have been more, but there was only room for a certain few. We had come down and gone to the race registration on Friday, got my swag and then participated in the pasta dinner, which was delicious. Back to our hotel we went. We were staying at the starting end of the course in Willoughby Hills as my crew would follow me down through the course to Cuyahoga Falls and the finish. Back at the hotel all but myself and Karen (Oliver’s girl friend) went for a run. I sat back and relaxed and tried to keep my self from worrying about the race, which I was very successful with as I was feeling very confident and worry free about the race. The remaining members of my crew who hadn’t made it earlier arrived later in the evening and we had a last minute meeting to go over all the race details. About 10 pm I went to bed and surprisingly slept well.
Come morning we all met downstairs , prior to driving out the 5 minutes to the start area at Squires Castle. It was ominously humid at 4 am, not what I was expecting at all. I knew it was going to get hot later in the day, but jeez it was still very dark and very thick.
I checked in a the start area and awaited the start after the announcements and a stirring taped message from Nick Billock, a previous runner who was stationed in Afghanistan.
5 am and off we went down the field into the unknown! A right turn onto Chagrin River Road and it would be pavement for the first 9.6 miles.

I settled into a nice easy pace and like most I would walk the steeper hills, but I was very surprised when we came to the first aid station in only 45 minutes. I had anticipated taking at least an hour, but it felt good. A quick stop at Gates Mills aid station and off I went again. By now the field was spreading out and I’d be running by myself for quite a bit. Half way through this stage the sun, or daylight actually, started to show and by the time I got to Polo Field aid station at 9.6 miles it was complete daylight and the sun was still obscured by clouds (a good thing). On arriving at Polo Field I realized that I was a lot earlier than I had anticipated and also for my crew. I told them 7 am at the earliest and it 6:30, so I missed them which was no problem at this point as I still had lots of fluids in my camel back and the aid station had everything I needed otherwise. Here I ran into John Hnat who we had run with in one of the training runs. Now we were off into some trails to Harpers Ridge. This part was quite uneventful and I was feeling good and trying to keep my pace easy. Another 5.8 miles and we arrived at Harpers Ridge which has no crew access and so it was a quick drink a PB&J sandwich and off I went. The next section to Shadow Lake was mostly downhill and only 3.2 miles long. Near the end I caught up to Bob King who we had also run in the last training run, he was looking good and pumped too. We would pass each other numerous times over the next 30 miles. I came into Shadow Lake aid station and my crew was there waiting for me.

At this point I ditched the road shoes which were already soaked in sweat. A sock change, refill of the camel back, I grazed over the aid station and off I went. I don’t remember a lot about the next sections as I had 3 aid stations to the next Crew access point, but I do remember coming out onto a road where a couple of cars were pulled over and a runner sitting on the ground. I approached and realized that the runner was bleeding down his left arm and had been hit be a car, whose windshield was broken. Folks were attending to him so I kept out of the way and kept on going. The sun was out now and heat was getting to me a bit crossing Canal Rd about 30 miles in we hopped on the tow path which turned out to be one of my low points. It was out in the open, sunny and hot and I had a hard time mustering up anything even close to a run. A lot of runners passed me on this section and I was glad to see the tall bridge across the valley as I knew Station Road aid station was just a round the corner. Although really wasn’t trying to keep track of how I was doing and the goal of a sub 24 hour race, I felt at this point after a long hard slog up the tow path I was in need of something to get me going or I was going to let this slip.

A good aid station stop and a change of shirt, shoes, socks loaded up on watermelon again, oranges grapes and some cookies. 33.3 miles done.
Leaving Station Road I caught up to Bob King again we ran together for a bit, there was a lot of climbing in this section , but I did notice that when everyone was walking up hill or on the flats I was walking a lot faster than everyone else. Turns out my walking pace would help me a lot in the long term. This was the last section I would see Bob on until the end. I came into Ottawa Point aid station at 39.6 miles feeling really good again.

A change of shoes again, back in to trail shoes and new socks a feed of noodle soap and I was good to go. The heat was almost unbearable, but with the trails and the shade it made a big difference. My thanks should also go out RickyMac and Marie who would be there to soak my cloths with ice water to put on my neck in the aid stations. Having a cloth with me throughout the race was also a saving grace. I would come to a stream and dip my cloth in it to soak myself, it felt soooo good.
Leaving Ottawa Point we went down into a valley on single track (which usually means a climb is coming, what goes down, must come up) a the bottom of this ravine I was running in a group on some single track through tall grass, when the guy in front noticed that we were running on paved single track in the middle of dense bush, how insane is that.. Climbing was the name of the game for a while now as we arrived at Snowville aid station which I don’t remember at all, again no crew access here. Snowville to Boston Store #1 was some tough running including a lot of climbing, the last climb was up a steep set of stairs, but soon after I found myself flying downhill for a long gradual drop to the last road section to Boston Store, a volunteer greeted me here, as happened at most aid stations and asked me what I needed, if I had a drop bag or a crew here etc. Very helpful. 49.1 miles done, almost halfway.
The 4.1 mile loop from Boston Store to Boston Store was another low point for me, it starts on a dreaded tow path again for about a mile in th eheat of the sun, once off that you into unprotected trails which again sapped what I had left followed by a long climb up a road on whihc the ashpalt was melting. Eventually down the other side we were onto trails protected from the sun and after passing a few runners before this my competitive edge told me to run to keep them behind me, not necessary in this type of race.
I pulled back into Boston Store completely drained, with Roger just itching to pace me. So a quick turn around and hopefully having my first pacer would left my spirits. Again we left on tow path so we walked, which I am sure was much to Roger's chagrin. But Roger is good and he know s this was about me, although he did push me more than anyone, which is what I expected too. Off the tow path into a field up hill, so the walking continued. When we finally hit the trail it was also up hill and Grizzly Adams passed us. At the top of the hill we finally got to run and we ran a lot, passed grizzly again along with a few others. After crossing the hwy we hit somemore single track that was very rooty and difficult to run on, but we took advantage of it and passed a few others. Before long we were heading down a very steep trail, with other runners coming up, What the... Apparently we had to go out to Pine Lane and then back this way. So down we went at the bottom of the hill we crossed a small creek (I was thinking, god I'd love to just lay in there). As usual what go down... so up we climbed where we cam out was Pine Lane, we took a breather some more soup, watermelon etc. and then Stefan Miklos came in (a runner I know from Toronto). we all headed out more or less together, I expected Stefan to leave me behind at this point, but we stayed in front until we hit the stream and I told roger "I'm going to lay in it, take my picture".

Stefan thought we were insane and asked if I did it on purpose. We climbed up the other side where Stefan ran into another Toronto runner Steve Beach, they talked as we passed. Stefan had warned us of the next section that was a few miles of up hill road section, when we got to it we walked it, the whole thing. The tarmac was getting hard on the legs so walking was easier at this point. I expected Stefan to pass, but we never saw him again until the end of the race. Along the road we had runners in front and behind and although they would all run here and there, we would still gain ground on them. Finally off the road we turned on to another path in a park this one paved and up hill all the way. Roger talked me into a run here and there and we passed many runners a short single track run and we were at Happy Days aid station and the end of Rogers pacing.

64 miles done and Brendan was next up as my pacer. I was worried how Brendna would manage this as he is a very fast road runner, he would have to endure much walking. And thats how this part started, lots of walking on rocky, rooty trails. It wasn't until we crossed a road that we were on more manageable trails that were runnable, so we did. Brendan like Roger pushed me as much as I would allow and we gained a lot of ground, this section was long and hard, but we finally pulled into Pine Hollow aid station up the Sound of Music Hill just before dark. The open fields were nice and cool, but it was still very humid in the woods. My crew was trying to convince me that I should go with a long sleeve shirt, but I said no. Another drying of the feet and some anti monkey butt powder on and off we went into the darkness of the woods for what is supposed to be a quick 3.3 miles (5k).

It seemed like 10k, up and down all the time. Running the trails in the darkness was a new experience, the headlamps would light up what was right in front and the markers down the trail, but that was it. 74 miles done! Although tired I was very alert and never in doubt of what I was going to accomplish.
Bill toookk over the next leg which I was familiar with as we had run it a few weeks ago as part of a training run. On our way antoher runner caught up to us and asked if he could tag a long, he was struggling and had no crew or pacers as he a USATF runner. We said sure, we would lose him occasionally, but he would catch up. there was a lot of up and downs on this leg until we got out of the woods. After passing another group we crossed Akron Peninsula Road and found a stretch of flat ground that we were able to run off and on, around the corn field with head lights behind us we continued on. we passed another runner crossing Riverview Road who wasn't doing so well. From here around another corn field to Covered Bridge aid Station. 80 miles done. Covered bridge aid station is bustling with activity and all the while there are people sleeping everywhere, including most of my crew.

But Oliver is ready to go on his dificult leg, the Perkins trail loop. But we sang happy birthday to him first as it was just after Midnight and it was now his birthday.
The Perkins Trail from Covered Bridge 1 to Covered bridge 2 is supposed to be the worst part of the course. A lot of up and down hill on technical trail and it can be very muddy. We had done this part on the training run a few weeks ago and then everyone had commented on how dry it was, even so the issue would be the timing of this segment, in the dark when the mind is starting to wander. As it turned out even with the recent rains and storms the trail wasn’t as bad as I expected and I found that this section, although we did walk a lot of it, went by very well. We passed a lot of runners again on this trail. We rolled into Covered Bridge aid station again feeling very good and still smiling. 85 miles done.
Ricky Mac was my next pacer and I warned him that there would be a lot more walking now, with pavement coming up for a few miles I found it hard to run on this surface. Once we got over the first couple of hills we did run for a bit, but not for long. Eventually we were back into the trails, single track, where we bumped into a runner going the opposite direction. We must have looked rather bemused as he explained he wasn’t running the course, but actually running it backwards or at least to Covered Bridge, strange. Right after this the batteries on my headlamp died, and I had neglected to bring extras, they were in the car. Oops. So Rick gave me his and he followed closely, hopefully his last the rest of the way! I remembered this section of trail and told Rick to count the downed trees across the trail, there should be 5, before we hit the top of the hill. It turns out there are now 6 down, since the storms had brought another across the trail. The legs of the race were thankfully getting shorter and this one was to O’Neill Woods was only 3.3 miles, but there wood be no crew access here and we were quickly in and out of this station and on our way. After some more trails, which seemed to go on fore ever, we came onto W Bath Rd. here we passed another runner having some stomach issues (#47, we were counting my position each time we passed a runner based on what Roger had told me at Covered Bridge, not that it really mattered!!!). On to Yellow Creek Rd and then onto the dreaded tow path again. In the heat of the day this part was terrible in the training run, now it was my feet that were suffering, feeling every rock, pebble, crack. Everything felt uncomfortable. The only saving grace was that my walking pace was still very quick, every now and again we would break into a run. We did run past the length of the stinky compost plant and not long after passed a runner laying on a bench (turns out it was John Hnat, although I didn’t recognize him in the dark. We asked if he was ok and I guess we startled him as it seemed he was sleeping, he just grunted back so we continued on, we got to Riverview Rd and ran the last bit into the aid station, passing some of the volunteers running back out the other way. They asked us if we’d seen a runner down, but not thinking they meant John we said no. One of those volunteers was Brian Pulling who I had been looking forward to meeting at the aid station as we had been in contact prior to the race, so I missed him. 93 miles done.
All over but the crying now more or less. My feet were suffering, I felt blisters between the balls of my feet and they felt like they were on fire. I picked up Catherine as my next pacer and told her not to expect any and I meant ANY running. Which is exactly what we did, we walked the entire 3 miles as I knew this was entirely tow path again. This was probably the slowest part of the course for me, which is no reflection n Cath as she tried to keep going at a decent pace, but I was in a dark place at this point. We pulled into the last aid station Memorial Parkway at about 4:10 am and I barely stopped. I knew walking from here would get me to the finish at about 5:45. 96 miles done.
Joan would be my final pacer and hopefully she’d get me running to the finish line at least. The last section is 4.8 miles and it starts by crossing the river and then up hill up a couple of streets before heading into the Cascade Valley Metro Park and more trails. Luckily the trails here were mostly flat, but we still walked. Then the stairs and lots of them, we climbed up and up and I assumed we’d quickly come to the road at the top of the stairs., but about 3/4 ‘s of the way up we hit a gravel road and turned left on it. This road was painful on the feet and it went on and on, I was beginning to question whether we were on the right course or not, when we finally came out onto Front St. After climbing another hill up Front we had 1.5 miles to go along pavement which actually felt good, but seemed again to take a long time. Finally we turned a corner to see the clock tower and once we got to the second last set of light s we broke into a run and ran it in pretty quickly to finish in 24:38:56. 100.8 miles done!!

I was a little overwhelmed emotionally at the finish, so happy to have finished what I had started 18 months ago.
Later that morning after going back to shower and clean up, we came back for breakfast and watch more runners coming in. It was great to see Bob and Stefan finish and a few others that I ran with here and there.

On reflection, a week later, I feel I could have done much better with some fine tuning, shoe selection and socks for one were not good choices. But my crew was awesome and I couldn’t have done it without them. I applaud the volunteers the other runners, all the new friends I met out there and in the training runs. Those that I have met on line, but not personally that I know were out there, I wish I had got the chance to meet. And of course Joe and his crew who put together the greatest race I have ever been involved with and made the course tough, but had enough folks out there to get me through. The aid station folks were awesome, they’d meet you coming in to find out what you needed and made sure you knew where you were going when you left, much needed in the dark. Thanks to everyone involved and those at home rooting for me.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A week to go!!

A week from now and I will be in Cuyahoga Falls signing in for the Burning River 100 Mile Endurance Run. I think the realization is just starting to set now, as I am starting to get a bit excited, or maybe it is nervousness. Either way there is not much I can do training wise now to make things better. The training has gone well, good, days and bad, but generally good. Each lousy training run is usually followed by a good one to boost my spirits. Last weekend I experienced the Vermont 100 first hand as I was crewing for my friend Catherine. We were supposed to Pace too, but we never got that far as she was pulled from the course at about 55 miles, as she wasn’t making the cut offs. It was still a very positive experience and I definitely picked up a few pointers here and there.
Walking during the heat of the day being one. Fortunately the BR100 course has a lot of shade and is mostly in the bush.
This is my last week of training long, albeit not as long as other weeks. Next week I will probably only run on Wednesday as I rest up. A long run on Saturday and then a shorter run on Sunday.
Next week I have to start getting my gear together, the sooner the better. We will leave on Friday morning, Roger driving my car.
I know I have a good crew ready and the pacers will help me through the tough spots. It will be an experience for them too.
How am I going to approach the race? Well go out slow and steady and see how the weather affects me. Walk when I need to, but try and run as much as my boy will allow. I have no idea what to expect later in the race. 50 Miles is as far as I have run, so…
The long term forecast at the moment is calling for possible Thunderstorms or showers, but warm and humid. What ever happens and how ever bad I feel, I have to keep the thoughts positive and think about the things that I know will keep my mind off the pain.
Shoes is another issue, which ones am I going to wear? I will start with road shoes and switch to trail shoes at some point, its just a matter of when to switch over. I have read numerous ideas about that and different spots where to change over. There are some generally muddy spots, but if they don’t get any rain it will be dry throughout so maybe road shoes through out is a possibility. I’m sure I will have trail shoes on for the most part though.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Creemore Vertical Challenge 50k Race Report

All week I'd been checking the weather to see what it was going to be like on Saturday. I was of two minds on this one. One I wanted it to be hot and humid so that I could get a feeling for running in what quite likely will be the conditions in Burning River, but at the same time I was a littel worried about how I would fair in the heat. The forecast was up until Friday night calling for hot, humid weather with a humidex in the high 30's C. On friday they started saying the humidity would not hit until lunch time.
I got up at 6 to meet Chris B at 7. Cath and Bill were supposed to come to do the 25k, but didn't register in time and it sold out. The morning was cool and overcast so not too bad. I decided on Vector for Breakfast and had everything laid out from the night before. It was Canada Day on Friday and we had been to the sister in laws for there annual Party, in Newmarket this time.
So I got ready, headed out picked up Chris at the car pool and off to Creemore. Its about a 30 minute drive directly west from Barrie and we got there with lots of time to spare, we picked our race kits (#75) and put the final touches to our gear. I had bought a second hand held to try two fisting it on the trails and see how that would work.
A little before 8 we were all lined up and the shot gun went off to start the race, it always makes a number of people jump. We started out to the end of the drive way and then a sharp right onto single track. It gets pretty congested here and I was well back in the pack and thought that was ok as I didn't want to get caught up in the race. This was to be a training run. Yeah right!
It was still nice and overcast and cool so it felt good and I felt good, we eventually come out on Airport Rd. before making a turn on to the first dirt road and effectively the first climb. Not a bad climb but just steady to the next road where turned right again and headed about 1k down the road to the first aid station and into the bush again.
A nice stretch of single track followed, but soon we were into some grassy trails which I found to be hard to run on. The uneven ground hidden by the grass was hard to run comfortably on. From a long steady climb we came out into an opening, more like a meadow. At this point the field had stretched out some what and I had a few runner son the other side of the meadow, not that I was looking at chasing them!!! Either way we turned left on to another road and the first official hill. All in all this hill was close to 1k long and a significant climb it was. Once it flattened out a bit we came across the second aid station and shortly after that a sharp left into the woods again, which was preceded by more long grass running (argghh), but it was all down hill for a bit. Yeah, what goes down must come up, at least in Creemore everything seems to come up. The trail curved around before coming back up to the road we were on earlier. Another short run on the road was followed by a rather gnarly trail downhill, which you really had to be careful on, loose rock made it difficult. Across a couple of “streams” and up hill number 2, a gully that was a challenge. At the top of this hill we cam out on another road to another aid station. This was looking familiar from the last time I had done this race and I knew a big downhill was around the corner. A downhill is good, but when it is on a rough dirt road with lots of loose rocks and gravel you have t have your wits about you. I managed to get through it no problem though and then we were back into the up and down of the country roads, it was still cloudy at this point and the heat wasn’t too bad, and as it was it was a nice shaded area. The few runners ahead seemed to be slowing some as I was gaining on them. At the 3rd hill (O2 as it is called) the sun came out and the temperature went up at least 10C. Up the long climb we went and I passed three runners (we were all walking this hill) before turning back on to another road back to the previous aid station. I was feeling very good at this point and confident in my pacing. Not too quick, but maybe quicker than necessary, probably my competitiveness showing through.
After the aid station we make a left on a road which just goes up, up and up. This was the “last” hill called the Top of The Hill. The road at the top is long, unsheltered and slightly up and tends to be a bit of a back breaker. It’s a bout 1 k to the next turn (20k mark) and into a corn field. Then it’s down into the “Valley” which the sign said is not a hill! Bull, its down hill very steep to start and then up hill at the other side. I’m not sure what they classify as hill in Creemore, but I would say this was a hill. Down and up I went before coming back to Hill 1, except now we are going down. This is a tough downhill and by the time I had got to the bottom, passing another runner, I felt the ball on my left foot feeling sore/hot, oh oh. I continued on and before hitting the home stretch went through some good single track with ropes for pulling/guiding up and down hills. I finished the first half in about 2:27, about where I wanted to be. The problem with my left foot had worried me but at this point I’d already forgotten about it. Off again on to the trails.
So far I had felt good, I had passed another runner through the start finish area and had another in front. The single track a the start is good and I feel I could run it forever. AS soon as we hit the road I though I needed a walk, an extended walk! I walked to the bridge where the runner I had passed just before passed me again. The first guy to do so since probably 5k in. Turning on to that first dirt road felt draining, I don’t know what it is but, it was hot, very little shade and looking up hill all the way must have a negative affect on the brain and I was starting to feel it. Hitting the trails again was good, but soon as I got out into the open it was draining. At the first aid station I tried putting ice in my hat, which lasted all of about 1 minute before brain freeze set in from the out side. So I had to dump them. The walk breaks were getting longer and I was beginning to have doubts, but every now and again the sun would disappear and all would be “good” again. The worst part for me was on the road at the Top of the Hill I walked almost all of it and had one runner (Stephan) pass me, the first to do so in a long while. I would pass one more runner my self in the Valley, but by the time I finished I felt like crap. My time was 5:24:59, so almost 3 hours for the second loop, 20th overall and 5th in my age category. A good day, but the feeling at the end left a sour taste. I have to remember that I was running a bit faster than I would at Burning River so I took heed in that, and it was a tough course. The acclimatizing to the conditions was good and using the two bottles for fluids while feeling unusual worked. Over all a successful day.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fire Flies Everywhere

It was time for the 2nd annual night run to Orillia and back. It was looking like it would be a wet run, with heavy drizzle coming down when I went to pick up Rick downtown after dropping his car off. Rick was going to run with me and Joan from our house to downtown, Joan would then head back home to get in about 10k and Rick and myself would carry on with Brendan who would meet us down there. We tried to keep a nice easy pace, but kept noticing our pace getting quicker, so we'd slow down again. The goal was to maintain about a 7 minute k over the entire run. I no longer had a Garmin so I was winging it or relying on the others for input. Once we met up with Brendan dropped Ricks car keys with Roger and said goodbye to Joan, it was off we go. I was wondering how Brendan would make out trying to run slow. While almost always being slightly ahead of us, he never pushed the pace and if anything was able to keep us in line.
Catherine was to run down from her house at 6 to get a head start, meet Chris B. downtown to keep her company on the way out and have Bill for support. Bill would run back with her. apparently things didn't quite go as planned.
Even for our run, Theo was a last minute drop out, due to work commitments.
So the long journey began and it was rather uneventful on the way out. The rain was holding off, but it was very humid. Not long after we started I had found myself getting hungry already. So I stopped and had one of the almond butter and jam wraps that I had made, it went down well. With the overcast sky I figured it would get darker sooner and at about 9 to 9:30 we got our lights ready, I was going to try a waist light and a head lamp. But after trying the headlamp on it felt cumbersome and Rick's light was more than enough to light up the trail, so I stuck with the waist light only. Brendan had his head lamp to so we were well lit up.
We started with trying 20 minutes of running and 5 walking to see how that would work, and it seemed to be good, but switched to 15 minuted of running later. After crossing the 7th line we could se a light up a head and figured it was Catherine and Chris, but as we ran on we just didnt seem to be gaining any ground on them. When we crossed the 12th we knew we went far behind "them". THats when Bill texted us to say the "girls"(??) had just crossed the 14th. I thought ha had made a type on both Girls and 14th. coming up to the 14th we caught the individual, yes one runner and it was Chris!! Where was Catherine? She was ahead with Joan VH, who had come out to run with her. Chris had missed them at the start, because Catherines start had got delayed, there was a mix up in the times and he never did see them. He had run all that way by himself. So now he tucked in with us as we headed into Orillia. Through out the run and particularly as we approached Orillia fire flies were to be seen everywhere. It was like something magical. I didn't remember it being like this last year. We summized different environmental conditions had mad it much better for them.
Now with Chris running with us it was a matter of tracking down the girls, but as we got closer to the finish we figured it wasn't going to happen and they would get there first. A great run by them considering they hadn't started much earlier thean we had. Another twist was that Joan VH had to switch with Bill at 32k as she had injury issues.
We got to Home Hardware and the turn around at 11:50, about right on time. Roger and Steen were there too, Steen just showed for support. About as soon as we arrived, Catherine and Bill started back. I decided to change my shirt for a long sleeve (a mistake) and put on a pair of road shoes and thicker socks (both mistakes), refilled my camelback had a Glucerna and off we went, now with Roger. Roger had done this last year with me and was very keen on the whole run.
We hadn't been going long when I realized the mistakes I had made in changing. the shoes and socks especially were very uncomfortable. My feet felt like they were on fire. This was the start of a low point for me, I was struggling and by the time we go to the 11th line I had the sweats, was weak and just overall down. We walked from here for a while and soon were running again, not long after I seemed to get my second wind and was feeling much better. By the time we go to the 5th line we got word that Cath had called it a day, she was having ankle problems. She had managed to get about 52k in and was running well up to that point.
Once we crossed the 4th onto the other side of the road, we felt like we had crossed a milestone as we on familiar territory and close to Barrie. after the 3rd we saw alight on the trail ahead and assumed it was Bill stopping to offer support at the 2nd line, turned out to be Chris again. He had gone home after the run to Orillia, got cleaned up and changed refueled and ran back to meet us. He is crazier than me!!!
This did pick up our spirits adn we ran back into Barrie. On the rail trail we took a couple of breaks, but ran the marked kilometre and found we did a 5:20 k, after 73k of running. hmmm, not bad I'd say.
We finished at Hooters and said goodbye and thanks to Chris, who was still going to run home. Roger drove me home.
I had done 75k in 8:39:47, about 20 minutes faster than last year, although that wasn't important. Averaging just under a 7 min k. Right about on target.
Many thanks to all those who helped out and ran with us.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Night Run to Orillia...

Well tonight is the second annual night run to Orillia and back I’m assuming its an annual event now!! Its shaping up to be that way, I guess it depends on what races some of us will be doing in the future.
We had a lot of fun last year doing this and there are few different faces on board for this year’s event. Unfortunately Theo has had to back out as of last night, due to work commitments, but Catherine is doing the whole shebang this year and Bill will be out helping her on the run back. Brendan is running out with me, along with Rick who was with us last year. Roger will be my lone companion for the run back, but he is good company and enjoyed last years run.
The only difference this year maybe the weather. Last year it was clear and very mild, 18C was the low over night. This year it is looking like it may be wet and a little cooler. The forecast is for rain showers and a low of 15C, still not bad as long as it isn’t rain all night.
I just have to make sure I have all I need ready,. I haven’t prepared well for this. It was just night when I started putting together the items I would need. Let’s see, Shoes, clothes, a change of clothes both for the turn around and afterwards, hats, gels, SCaps, Camelback, mix my Clip-2 drink for the Camelback and extra for later, some food, lights, batteries…

Should be a good night. More to follow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Take A Breath

It is forty days until I toe the line at the Burning River 100 mile Endurance Run, so I figured maybe it is time to reflect and see how I’m feeling and wear I stand in my training. There have been good days and not so good days in my training, slight injuries that have popped up and gone away or lingering ones that won’t go away, but are not bad enough to stop me. There is the same old injury that I have had for a number of years that is still there, but of which I have learned to live with and better yet run with. I have tried many different methods in my training and I would like to think I have learned a lot. Most importantly, over the past few months my confidence has grown, although I had a few low points, I’m feeling good mentally. I have a lot to learn on July 30th and 31st, but up for the challenge. It is amazing the amount of information that you can get off the internet and how it can inspire you and that’s what it has done. Whether it was reading others accounts of previous Burning River races or videos, they have all helped my mental state. The training run last month on the first part of the course was good and I’m looking forward to the next one on July 10th. Meeting and talking to others who will be there was great, they all feel the same way that I do and have the same hesitations.
The training has gone well and will the highlight (hopefully) will be next Friday when we do the annual run to Orillia and back over night run. We will leave Barrie at about 8 pm and hopefully arrive in Orillia at midnight, then back to Barrie by 5 am ish!
I have done most of the training I can do, with a few races thrown in to see how endurance is, it is now time to maintain and get ready to taper in a few weeks. The past two weekends I haven’t been able to get in the runs I would normally do, but were still successful runs none the less, although all on road. I should get a long trail run in soon too. Yesterday 37k on the road and I felt good, except for a bit of pain in the outside shin/calf just below the knee. So when I got home I took some Motrin and some cream on it, and it seemed better. Its good today.
One thing I have learned is that running slower definitely helps. It is hard to do and without a Garmin I have a hard time knowing how slow the pace is, but yesterday I was able to concentrate on slowing it down for a bit and was able to go much further with out a walk break. Eventually I was back to my usual “too fast” pace. Still other than the pain in my right leg it was a good run. Funny thing is with the pain is it only occurs for the first ten or so steps after a walk break. I’ll have to work on that one.
Latest from Burning River is a slight course change due to construction on the Boston 1 to Boston 2 section. A proposed change is supposed to be released some time this week. This will need some changing to my pace charts etc., but its just a little bit of work for an epic adventure.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Running, OUCH!!!! and shopping.

It wasn’t the best weekend, at least running wise. I did get some shopping accomplished for Kevin on Sunday.
Friday night I figured I’d get an extra distance in and run to the Running Room and back, it was a decent run except again, as usual, when running with the group which was too fast. Running home felt good. I t was a decent 19k in, but was it too much for my Saturday morning run.
I didn’t bother setting the alarm. I would just get up whenever and get ready and go for my run when I was ready. As has been the case recently I was up early anyway, but didn’t rush myself, but I was still out the door by 8 am. I had everything ready, camel back full with my Clip 2 drink, gels, S Caps and my phone for listening to tunes. I started with the Ferndale to Edgehill, Miller, 90, 27, Ardagh loop before heading down Patterson to Tiffin and around the lake. I wasn’t feeling to bad at this point and then headed via Tollendal to Hurst and Big Bay Point and Pine Drive. I was struggling to remember to take my gels and S Caps for some reason. But when I would feel tired or sluggish that would be enough to jog the memory. It was quite a bit warmer out than I had anticipated and with a long sleeve shirt on I was sweating profusely. I was tiring too, walking a lot more than I planned. I thought I’d run all the way along Mapleview and go to Bear Creek School and check out the track to see if it is suitable for speed work. Not that I am planning on it, but there isn’t a decent track in town and I thought while I’m out I’ll check it out. By the time I got there I was out of fluids (note to self, longer runs use larger camel back). The track wasn’t the best, but no worse than any of the others.
It was only 5k or so to home so the lack of fluids wasn’t too much of a problem and made it in just under 4 hours which was the plan, more or less. After measuring on google maps (Garmin is still dead) I figured it was just over 40k. So all in all it was a good run statistically speaking, but I hadn’t felt good about the feeling during the run. But we all have those days, at least I do. Some good, some not so good.
So Sunday morning would be a little shorter run and nice and easy, or so I thought!
I get up (again with out alarm) and start breakfast. Cup of tea ready to go, I take the tea bag out and go to put it in the green bag and reach down and… arghhhhhhhh. My back just about gave way as I had shooting pains through the lower back. I was in absolute pain. I managed to make it to the living room and get down to lay on the floor and that felt good, but I was still not quite comfortable. As much as it hurt and I was rather immobilized, I was still thinking about getting out for my run. It was another half hour before I realized, no, that ain’t gonna happen today! So maybe a rest day would be good.
I moped around the rest of the morning before getting Kevin up out of bed, so I could take him shopping for clothes that he most desperately needed and to get him ready for Craig and Kristin’s wedding next Saturday.
I took a Super Motrin after the back incident (later I would switch to Rabaxocette) and tried to keep comfortable, checking out what was new in the internet world and reading.
I eventually was able to get about enough to go and get gas at Costco, before coming home and making sure Kevin was ready.
We went out finally at about 2:30 and went straight to Moore’s got Kevin fitted with a suit and as it turned out it was 2 for 1, so I got one too. Shirts, ties and shoes and we were all set. Now on to the mall and got him some Jeans, to Old Navy for some shirts and then Payless shoes for new everyday shoes for him. All that done in about 2 hours.
Over all a successful weekend, except for the back, which is slowly getting better. I have a massage scheduled for tomorrow (Tuesday) so hopefully that will help.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Mosies Galore!!

I had forgotten what it was like to run through the woods on a hot day just prior to twilight and the hazards that lurk everywhere out there. The hazards being the bugs, mosquitoes, horse flies etc. Initially I hadn’t planned on going for a run last night, but with work commitments possible taking up the next few evenings I thought I should try and squeeze in a run. I had just bought a new pair of Wildcats so, it was time to try them out. Although as I already run in them, there shouldn’t be any surprises with them. So off I went and yes it was quite warm, but not too bad, the one advantage to running a little later. Initially I didn’t notice the bugs as I wasn’t stopping, but I knew they were out there waiting for me to drop my guard. I crossed Ferndale into the muddiest and darkest jungle around our parts and it was still muddy even though it had been drying up a bit. Only one great big puddle to get around, out of the bush and along Sommerset to the next wooded area to Ardagh, across the road to the gas right of way and back in to the woods again the first “hill”. This is where I noticed the bugs gnawing on me and thought I better get running again, from here on in it was keep running unless I hit an open area where the bugs won’t follow. I got to my turn around and decided to take a quick breather and a drink. Wow, the bugs were al over me in seconds, must be the rich English blood I guess. Voom, off I went again, being chased by the hoards. As I ran back I kept thinking that I have at least 4 good hills, which I haven’t run totally since last year, so I may have to sacrifice my body if I decide to walk part of the hills. But I didn’t and ran all of them rather than get eaten alive. Overall it felt really good to have done what I hadn’t done in a long while , but after shower I was zonked out. Extremely tired and showing a few good bites for merit.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

From One Extreme to the Other

Sunday was spent recovering from the Sulphur Springs run, but by the end of the day I figured I would take the advice of a recent article I had read about recovery. The article was basically one persons opinion that after a strenous race or hard long run, that person would go for a thirty minute run the day after no matter how he felt. It would help flush out the muscle soreness. So Sunday night I went for a nice short 3.5k run, it was very humid and the first part of the run were rather dificult, but when I was done I was glad I had done it.
On Tuesday I would take part in the Relay for Stronger kids at Exihibiton place in Toronto as part of one of the 65 Hydro One teams that took part. Unfortunately our team only had 3 members so Jeff and myself would complete three of the 2.5k laps and Deanna would do the regular 5k. As it turned out we would all do better than expected. Even thought the temperatures during the day were around 40C with the humidex, we all did better than expected. The temps were noticeably cooler near the lake which obviously helped but didn't lessen the sweat coming out of me.
Jeff ran the first 3 loops and kept a steady pace, he was aiming for about 42 minutes and we were surprised when he rounded the corner to the hand off area at 38 minutes. My turn and as usual in a race the first half a k are the worst, I feel out of breath and it feels hard. I settled into a decent pace just aimed to maintain that, I was looking for about 38 minutes myself. I passed my "buddy" Gary from Toronto Hydro taking part in the walk as I would again on the second lap. I was surprised to see that I was doing 4:30k on my Garmin and came in the first lap at about 11 minutes, I thought I would slow down here, but the second lap came in about the same time. It was on the second lap where my Garmin dropped dead. It has been struggling to keep a charge lately and I think it is no done like dinner. THe third lap I felt myself surge a bit, knowing it was the last lap. I finished very strong and came in at a very good 32 minutes or so. Deanna did the last 2 laps and was very happy with a 5 minute PB coming in at 26 minutes. A good day and we were 5th in our age category, Coed +35.
Wednesday nigh tis Running Room night and the usual suspects were there minus a few unusual suspects! We were doing the hospital route backwards whihc meant running up Owen to start. Running along Rose we crossed Duckworth, but instead of going up to the hospital Theo took us straight and through the subdivision, Ok! And on we went then done Cook, "where are you taking us Theo?" the group kept spreading out as the faster guys took off especially along Steel, I thought I wasn't slowing down at all but most of them were pulling away from me. I asked Rhonda what our pace was and we were doing about 4:30 pace. Along the lakeshore and along the railtrail I asked again and Rhonda said we were doing around 4:25, Roger was running quite a bit faster as he had pulled away, good to see him running good tonight. We finihsed 10k in aobut 47minutes and change. A good dose of speed for the second night in a row, hope that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass, literally!!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sulphur Springs Trail Run - 50 Mile

Wow, I forgot what stiff sore really is until this morning. Its the day after the 50 mile race at the Sulphur Springs trail runs, and I'm having a hard time moving around. It just goes to show you what some rather big hills and a lot of mud will do to your body when running 50 miles.
Bill Lovett and Catherine Harding picked me up Friday evening for the drive down to Burlington and our hotel for the night, a rather uneventfull drive and evening watching what we could of the hockey game before settling in for the night, we couldn't stay up for the 3rd period. It just so happened Tracy and Lorna were in the same hotel just down the hall from us.
It was an early 4am start to the day on Saturday and I hadn't slept to well as usual. but we left for Ancaster and got there with about 25 minutes to spare. Bill was doing the 50k and din't start till 7:30 so he would spend his spare time setting up a tent for our gear etc.
We saw Deb Lancia was doing her first 100 miler and Brian doing his first 50k. Also ran into Chris McPeake and chatted briefly, another 100 mile runner. So at 6 am we started, the 100 and 50 milers all together and down the huge hill to start. The course had changed in a few spots this year, the main change being the start finish area, which was much better, but and this is a big but, the finish area was at the top of this huge hill which had to be half a k long and very steep. We would have to climb it 4 times!
So the first couple of k would take us onto the old route and things became familiar. It was very foggy and damp, some rain trying to come down, but a perfect day for running. I would try to take my time and run easy, as usual I found it hard to stop and take a walk break here and there and probably didn't other then the hill until about an hour in. Eventually I would find myself by myself, not very uncommon in runs I do for some reason. Generally the course consists of a 20k loop divided into two seperate loops, a very pretty setting int he Dundas Valley Conservaton area. A lot of old growth forest.
I felt good through out the first loop and knowing that I was faster than I needed to be (remember this is only supposed to be a training run), I knew I would take the next loops slower. After walking the big hill into the finish area for the turn around I was at 2:05, way faster than I expected. I didn't need anything from the tent so I just ran through. My Camelback was working really well and I had lots of gels and S caps to keep me going. If I had a complaint about anything it was my shoes, the Sportiva Raptors were a heavy shoe and with the wet and the mud they were getting heavier. That would come into play later.
The second loop was the where I started to unravel a bit. Now we had the 25k and 50k runners with us and it was getting busy on the trails. I saw Tracy a few times, but never came across Catherine or Bill. Bill was going to do his first 10k, then wait for Catherine and run the next 40k with her to pace her. The second loop was becoming increasingly slicker, muddier and just plane tougher. I was starting to struggle a bit and walking became more the norm. My mind wasn't in a good place and was surprised it was happening so early. Having said that, it was alos surprising when I cam into finish the second loop only 15 minutes slower than the first. I refueled my camel back and off I went. Not long afterwards I realized that I had forgot to pack more gels. I had 1 left to get me through this lap, fingers were crossed. the aid stations were quite well stocked so it wasn't a problem. At the bottom of the hill at the start of the third loop, there was a 50k runner a head of me and I recognized his odd stride, so I caught upto him and asked him if he was Shawn Shryer from SUdbury and he was, he seemed surprised that I knew him, but when I explained that I knew quite a few of the people he runs with from Sudbury and had run against him before, we started chatting for a while. This helped while a way a bit of time, befoer I told him I had to walk for a bit and wished him luck. This part of the third loop was a dark place too and I was having a hard time. The aid stations were good and that helped. The last one was the best lots of folks including the legendary Monica Scholz, althoguh this was the last aid station it was also the second last as you had to go out on another loop from here, whihc was basically up hll all the way out and downhill all the way back, with a final half k to the finish. Finishing the 3rd loop I decided to change shoes and my shirt, I cam in and Sharon Zelinski asked if was going to do the victory lap, of course I said, just have to change first. It was amazing what a change of shoes and socks could do and apparently a change of shirt. Sharon said the salomon shirt was much faster for me. I headed out again before realizing I had forgot my gels again, so back I went, retocked and off on to lap four.
I think the the shoes and the thought that this was the last lap really changed how I felt, I felt charged up and ran well for the last lap. Initially I was totally alone, unlike the previous laps there was not to many runners out there now, a few 50kers and the rest 100 and 50 milers. This where I really noticed that I was running better as I was passing many runners and even lapping some. I was still taking walk breaks, but found myself pushing the flat and downhills more. On the second half of the loop I cauhgt up to and passed a girl I would later find out whos name was MayLou Corino. For the rest of the race we would pass each other I would pass her when I was running and then she would pass me on my walks. We would chat about the course here and there, but I think we helped each other through that second half. Just before the second last aid station I thought I spotted Cath and Bill, Sure enough it was so we chatted for a bit before I headed off again. Into the last hilly loop with MaryLou and she left me behind as I walked with some food in hand from the aid station. Now she was a head of me it pushed me to cathc her again, which I wasn't sure was possible at this point. We were still passing more runners and this agian made me feel good too. On the last hill in this loop, which was long and muddy My walking must have been faster than Marylou's as I caught her on the top of the hill, we walked most of the trail around the farm fields before headin gto the forest again and down into the ravine, mostly downhill to the final aid station. I left MaryLou behind at this point and I had run out of fluid in my camelback too, but it wasn't far to that last aid station. I fille dup with a couple of cups of gatorade and water and off I ran. to the final push up the hill, which I wakled again. I looked around a little ways up the hill and saw Mary Lou about 50 m's behind, and called on her to pass me on the hill, she laughed. I finised in 9:29, which was faster on the much easier run to Wasaga and back a few weeks ago, so I was very happy with that. Mary Lou was not far behind in 9:30. Thanks for the push!
That Guinness tasted good after I was done. I watched the rest of the runners coming (and going for the 100 milers) and talked to Brian and he had a great 5:18 time for his 50k, he said Deb was doing well

. I told him I had seen her a few times and she seemed very up beat.
Chris Battaglia had run 6:05 and was running the 6 hour race at Mansfield on Sunday too, crazy!
Catherine finished her 3rd loop and called it a day, her feet were a mess and she hadn't trained much do to illness lately.

Waiting around they started the awards for the 50 mile race and they announced the winner in the 50+ group as David Bohn, I had race against David in my first 50k at Haliburton. Kevin had come first, me second and David 3rd. We had chatted with him and his wife for a few hours afterwards. So went up and talked tp them both again and they remembered me. David asked why I hadn't won the race, I laughed and explained the injury issues and the prupose of this race as a training run only. One othe people with him was JD Begin who is also doing Burning River, so we talked for a bit too.

I saw Deb finish her 4th loop loking very strong. Gailanne Joachim finished the 50 mile race in a PB 11:06, great job. Another Burning River runner this year.
Over all a good day and happy with the result. Just have to deal with this case of DOMS now.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Burning River Training Run Part 1.

12 hours of driving for a training run, some would think I am crazy. Of course many already do. Either way I had decided that it was necessary to go down to Ohio and take part in at least one of the organized training runs for Burning River. This one was the first and would encompass the first 19 miles of the course. The only other one I can make is the last one, which funny enough, takes in the last part of the course. Still debating on whether or not I’ll get to that one yet.
Roger had backed out of making it for the run, as work had not gone well in Marysville and it looked like he was going to be stuck there until at least late Saturday. But a funny thing happened on the way to …
Joan and myself had left Barrie at about 2 pm, shortly after she got off work and it turned out to be a fairly good drive. The border crossing went very well. I decided to try the Rainbow bridge for a change and low and behold there was no one in front of me. Scooted through quickly and on our way down I190 to I 90 and off to Cleveland. Just passed Erie Joan’s phone rang, the number was a Tennessee number so we ignored it. With in seconds my phone rang and it was the same number, so I answered it. It was Roger and he said he would make it after all and would meet us at the hotel at about 10 pm.
We arrived shortly after 8 and after unpacking walked over to the Olive Garden for dinner, that was good! At exactly 10 the phone rang and sure enough punctual Roger was very much so. We went down stairs to meet him and discussed the following days plans. We would meet at 5:30 and head to the arranged meeting spot.
I didn’t sleep well, the room was too warm although the bed was very comfy. Got up and ate my oatmeal and got all my gear together, met Roger downstairs and off we went in Rogers company car. We managed to find the Shadow Lake picnic area quite easily, but were the first ones there so naturally started questioning whether or not we were in the right spot. Gradually others started showing and socializing for a bit we all jumped into a couple of vehicles and headed to the start area at Squires Castle.
There were about 30 runners ready to run the course on a nice morning. We were lucky as apparently it had rained for the past 2 weeks straight. A couple of the runners were doing 40 miles as one was celebrating his 40th birthday. After a few instructions on the protocol for the run, we left at a very nice and slow pace. The plan was to run a 6 minute k at the fastest and settled in at about a 6:10 or slower pace. The first part of the course (9.6 miles) is all road and it was very pretty area and beautiful houses and horse ranches all along the route. The first aid station is in Gates Mills, a very small pretty town where we regrouped as some runners ran off faster and others were slower. After a quick break we back on the run for the next 4.8 miles to Polo fields, again this was similar to the first 4.8 miles on rolling hills. Before we knew it we were at the halfway mark, where again we regrouped and refueled. From here we hit the trails, which started off as a bridle trail which was a little rougher than I thought it would be and Jim Chaney, the organizer, said there was a river crossing coming up soon. We spent a lot of the time chatting to others as we ran talking about our approach to Ultras and what our “secrets” were. Before the first water crossing (yes first), Roger had to take a bathroom break and this gave me a good opportunity to take a long walk break. The sun was getting warm and we had hit the trails at a good time, it was much cooler in the bush.
Not long after Roger rejoined me we hit the first river crossing. As it turned out it was more of a stream, but we still go tour feet wet. Through out this third section of the undulating trail we would cross the same stream, six times in all I think. Before long we had arrived at Harpers Ridge aid station where one gentlemen had left his vehicle loaded with goodies and water for everyone. Soon we were off again and on to the shortest section of the days run to Shadow Lake. This would also be the muddiest. It was more downhill than the last section but everyone was surprised by all the mud. There were also a lot of deer tracks on the trail. We actually scared one up in front of us.
We finished the run in about 3 hours and 15 minutes, about an hour faster than I plan on runner the actual race, so that made me feel good knowing that I was “taking it easy”.
Over all a good run and well worth the drive. Even Roger enjoyed running it even though he is foreign to trail running. He is looking forward to the next one. I believe he is almost as excited about the race as I am.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A Little Spot of Trouble

Ohoh,I shouldn't have done that. Yeah well its too late now. Las tnight I decided to throw in an extra run, since the run on Wednesday was so crappy. So I got home and noone was home so yes, lets get out for a decent trail run. The only error of judgement was deciding to use my Vibrams. I hadn't used them in quite a few weeks and thought, "yeah it won't be a problem running about 13k with them, I ran at least that much last time"! Wrong!
I ran the trails and it felt really good, it was quite warm, humid in fact. But once I had crossed over Ardagh and onto the trails past the pipeline right of way I felt little twinges in the right calf, which seems to be my achilles heel at times. I ran on as it was just a bit of irritation. Came across Chad on the trails and we stopped and talked shortly, before I headed off again. I had tld him of the irritation and said to him I would turn around at the next corner, I didn't, Not that it would have mattered the strain would have come at some point regardless. I turned around thats when it hit, a sharp pain in the calf that stopped me in my tracks. I couldnt move, I tried to walk on it and it was no go. So I massaged it for a bit and that helped I walked again and the walking seemed to help the mr I wlked th ebetter it felt, but not enough to try running.
I got home an iced, but some Dr. Hoys magic potion on it and had some dinner. I had too much to do to sit around, so I mowed the lawn, go the Garbage ready and everything packed for the weekend. Finally sat down to relax after my shower and more icing, and sitting.
Hopefully everything will be ok for Saturday mornings trainng run. Roger has already backed out as he is stuck working longer than he thought he would. Lets hope it all works out.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A New Hydration Vest and Three days rest!!

Yes I picked up a new hydration vest today, I had seen the new Salomon vest advertised and it seemed to perfect, but I wanted to try it on and as Running Free had it and I was going to be in that area on Wednesday I thought I would pay them a visit. I tried it on and bought it. It was a little expensive as far as vest go, but it is $30 cheaper than in the US. I talked to the guy at the cash and he said he trail tested it last year at UTMB and loved it. Good enough for me. See pic:

I figured that three days off after running 50 miles was probably a good thing if not a good reward for doing it, but by Tuesday I was already itching to run. Wednesday was the day when I would actually get out for a run and I was sure that I would get out the door just float along the road. Well not quite. I decided that I would a longish midweek run in and run down to the Running Room again, I had already decided that it was a down week so there was no pressure to go nuts. I left the house with my new hydration vest and as soon as I got on the road I felt lethargic and started feeling aches all over. Running felt difficult! I tried to run easy, but you know me, it was more of what felt comfortable, but nothing felt comfortable to day. It was a nice day if not a bit humid, and I was dripping wet by the time I completed my 4.6k down to the Running Room. After a quick rest stop we grouped together and decided on the Owen loop, up the hill we went, Theo, Terry, Dr. John, Little John, Rick, Rhonda and myself. Not long after starting the usual groups splintered off with me and Rick at the back. Rick was just coming off the Toronto Marathon and would be doing the Whitby Marathon this coming weekend, so he was taking it easy too. This part of the run didn’t improve my feelings at all and the humidity seemed to get worse. I finished off with the Rick said good bye to the group and off I trudged home. I finished the 19k not feeling good about the run and wondering if it was because I had taken too much time off! Who knows. When I got home it was more of the same as I felt very tired, showered and lay on the couch for a while.

On a positive note, the vest worked very well. It felt a little tight at first, but like a lot of things I try eventually I didn’t even notice it. A two thumbs up for this item, which I will probably where in Burning River. It only carries 1.5 litres as opposed to the older one I have which carries 2 litres, but I figure I won’t need as much because of all of the aid stations. This weekend I think I will go with the older one as I will want to carry more.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

T-Shirt Ettiquette

T-Shirt Etiquette (courtesy of

Humerous look at the wearing of Race T-shirts -Particularly from an Ultra perspective.
In the ultra running community the wearing of race T-Shirts has become a sign of accomplishment and fashion. Choosing just the right T-Shirt for that special occasion can be a daunting and difficult task. The following guidelines have been compiled (in fun) to help the responsible T-shirt wearer avoid potential embarrassment and/or elevate their status.

1. A shirt cannot be worn unless the wearer has participated in the event. (crew, significant others and volunteers are exempt)

2. Any race, less than a marathon distance, shouldn't be worn to an ultra event. It simply doesn't represent a high cool factor and sends a red flag regarding your rookiness. If you set a PR at Pikes Peak Marathon, definitely wear that shirt whenever possible.

3. When returning to a race in which you previously finished, then wear the shirt from the first year you completed the race. Don't short change yourself by wearing the shirt from the year before. It doesn't adequately display the feat of accomplishment or the consummate veteran status that you are due.

4. Never wear a race shirt from the race you are about to run. It displays a lack of running integrity and might put the mojo on you.

5. Wearing a T-shirt of the race, while currently running said race, is discouraged. It's like being at work and constantly announcing "I'm at work". Besides, you wont have the correct post race shirt then.

6. Never wear a shirt from a run that you did not finish. To wear it is to say I finished it.

7. A DNF'er may wear a race shirt if... the letters DNF are boldly written on the shirt in question.

8. During a race the wearing of shirt from a previously completed year is acceptable. Wear the oldest T-shirt you have (see guideline #3). This is probably a good practice because you now have no excuse to drop out since you've done it before.

9. Runners should buy all crew members and, as appropriate, significant others (they let you run the race in the first place) T-shirts which can be worn without regard to running the race. (see guide #1)

10. Volunteers have full T-shirt rights and all privileges pertaining thereto.

11. No souvenir shirts therefore friends or anyone else not associated with the race may not wear a race shirt. If mom thinks that the Leadville shirt is lovely, tell he to send in her application early for next year so she can earn her own.

12. Wear the race shirt of your last race at the current race pre race briefing. The more recent the race the better. This is a good conversation starter. However avoid the tendency to explain how that it was a training run for this, and this is just a training run for the next, etc. It just sounds like your rationalizing mediocre performances. Sometimes it's best to live in the here and now. ("I've never been more prepared for a race! this is the big one!)

13. It must be clean (dried blood stains are okay)

14. If you've finished Hardrock 100 then wear it as often as possible, since the race is so damn hard.

15. Never wear a T-shirt that vastly out classes the event you're running (exception: see guideline #14) Example: Never wear a Western States 100 T-shirt at, say, Cool Canyon. Too many roadies will feel put down. It's okay to wear a WS100 or Leadville or Wasatch T-shirt at ultrarunner cult events such as Gibson Ranch or Jim Skophammer 24. It's probably not okay to wear your Trans-America footrace T-Shirt to your local around-the-lake Fat Ass 50k unless you want to psyche out the competition.

A corollary: never wear a blatantly prestigious T-shirt downtown. People will just think you have a big head, which you do.

If you don't know what things like DNF, WS100 or Crew are then you shouldn't wear any race shirt until you know what they mean.

T-shirts must be used sensitively. Worn responsibly, they can help expand one's consciousness and immerse you in a great conversation with your ultra brethren. Worn stupidly, they can cause blisters, vacant stares, sprained ankles, and cause social anxiety.
NOTE: Publicly these guidelines will be denied and possibly ridiculed by ultra runners, but privately and when discussed confidentially, they sing a different tune.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Wasaga Beach is Dreary When it Rains

Wasaga Beach is not the place to go when the weather is miserable, but it wasn’t a bad place to run to when the weather is wet. All in all I had a great run on Saturday, but it would never have been accomplished without the organizing of Joe Polcz. Joe put this together a while ago for two reasons, one to help out Catherine Harding in her goal to run 100 miles at the Vermont 100 in July and to try and prove that it is possible to run 50 miles with little training and on his crazy fueling method, Stroopwaffles! Joe had invited whoever wanted to show to run or help out, so I jumped at the chance to get in a 50 miler.
Either way things didn’t quite go as planned, firstly Catherine got sick and backed out at the last minute (actually the night before). At this point I thought it would be just me and Joe and biggest concern was trying to run with Joe all the way. That morning I arrived at Joe’s house and mentioned to him that I would run with him as much as I could, but probably wouldn’t be able to run his pace all the way. Another surprise was Victoria Northcott and Donnie Ellis showing up to run with us. They weren’t sure how far they were going to go, but it would be good to have company for part of the trip. Joe’s wife Joanne was going to run out 5k and turn around too. Apaarently there were a number of people who had offered to support us through out the run, but at this early hour only Joan VH showed to help out.
At approximately 6:10 we headed down the street to start the run, and right off the bat it was obvious that my idea of a slow run and Joe’s were quite substantially different, he would do 10 and 1’s were I would run and walk when ever I felt like I needed. Victoria and Donnie were a head right a way and I ran with them but would turn back to or stop when Joe did, allowing him to catch up. It was a foggy morning and slightly humid, but nice for running. Livingstone to Sunnidale to Wilson Drive and then a long straight run. Joanne turned around at about Carson Road and we said our goodbye’s, we were now four. Victoria and Donnie would continually drift ahead and stop for us to catch up, at times I go ahead and turn around to help out Joe. By the time we reached Anten Mills at Horseshoe Valley Road it was trying to rain. A couple of more turns and we on the road to Phelpston, so far so good and we rolled into Phelpston at 20k all feeling good. Victoria and Donnie and decided that they would do 30k and get a ride back from there.
The road from Phelpston was a long haul, at least 5 or 6k long without a turn, this is where I started running with V & D and left Joe behind to be supported by Joan. Not long after Brian Chew showed up to help out with support which would work out well having 2 support vehicles for 2 groups or 2 runners, but as it turned out Brian would take V & D back after the 30k point and not return. When I left Joe it was the last I would see of him until I turned back.
Turning off the road from Phelpston was a relief, but the next road (Vigo) was not much better, it went on forever. After V & D went back it was a lonely run, but at the same time I like that. Other than crossing Hwy 92,it was a nice quiet peaceful run, I struggled a at few points on the way out, but took numerous walk breaks. Just after dropping V &D I ran into someone who had just parked their SUV off the road and was standing there in running gear. She asked me if I was running with a group and I said yes. Turned out Sylvia was waiting to run with Joe to Wasaga and back for a 20k run. She had been waiting for over an hour. Running into Wasaga Beach picked up my spirits, but it is a long run into the Beach. On the way in I was surprised to see Steen pass by and pull over. He had everything but the kitchen sink. At the turn around I grabbed a change of shirts, found a public wash room to warm up and change. It seemed quite a bit cooler in Wasaga and the change of shirts and adding my vest warmed me up some. I refueled my camel back and had a bit to eat and then off I went again, I had put in 40.7k at this point.
It took a awhile to warm up again once I got going, but gradually the warm feeling came back, especially after turning on Vigo Road again. The temperature seemed to go up instantaneously 5 degrees. Before leaving the Beach I ran into Joe and Sylvia at the 42k mark, Joe said the turn around was as far as he was going. Again this was a long stretch on Vigo and played with my mind a lot, I was suffering a bit. At about 50k there was a large dog that had sort of chased us on the way out and I was worried that being by myself that I would have to fend for my self against this “7 foot tall, 300 pounder”. I mentioned to Joe, who was now riding with Joan to keep an eye out for me. Sure enough I wasn’t at the property when the monster saw me and beared down on me, charging across the yard and to the road, stopping ten feet away to bark, snarl and bear its teeth at me. Joe and Joan backed up their truck to get between me and the hound from hell and that seemed to throw off the dog. He turned around and off he went in one direction me the other.
Turning back on the road to Phelpston it was up hill for a long stretch and walked a fair bit of it. But after taking a break past Crossland Road, I felt invigorated and ran all the way into Phelpston, running felt better than walking at this point. I took advantage of the support crew and asked them to get me a bottle of coke as I was craving it again. Never drink pop normally, but in a long run of this magnitude I crave the stuff. I seemed to give me a boost and ran well from there on in, still taking walk breaks but feeling good. It was at about this point that I realized that if I kept this up I would finish with a negative split.
Back on Wilson drive out of Anten Mills I had another dark spot, I walked through it and then down hill to the flat part of Wilson Drive again made me feel good. Up the next hill to Hwy 26, down the next, walked up to Snow Valley Road and ran into Cindy Marcelli who said I looked great, Thanks Cindy! The next or last 7k or so went by well I walked up a bit of the hill to Carson Road, but ran most of the way back to finish in 9 hours and 37 minutes. A 25 minute negative split! I was very pleased at finishing so strong and on top of that felt great on Sunday, I felt like I hadn’t even run. A very successful run that has really boosted my confidence and spirits prior to both Sulphur Springs in 2 weeks and Burning River. This coming weekend I’ll be off to Ohio to run the first Burning River Training run on Saturday morning, other than that it will be a down week, with only a little bit of running. Thanks to all who helped out on Saturday, it was agreat.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Mid Week Roundup

Well it’s a couple of days away from Joe Polcz pseudo 50 mile “fun” run from Barrie to Wasaga Beach and back. I am sure I am ready for it, although I wonder about the others that are attempting it. I’m still not sure who is, I know Catherine is and Joe, but beyond that I am sure that anyone else attempting to run will be only doing part of the distance.
Another thought is that I will be running most if not all by myself as I can’t run as slow as the others and I have been working on slower running, but I enjoy running by myself anyway.
The lead up to Saturdays run has been rather uneventful, I’ve had two runs this week, I took off Monday as a rest day which I definitely needed. Tuesday was a trail run through the bluffs on the regular route, but it felt hard. Last night I ran down to the Running Room, although initially I had planned on just driving down, but with the price of gas and all I figured what the hell and ran anyway. I again felt sluggish running down there, but when we started as a group it was a good comfortable run, or at least I thought it was. When I looked at my Garmin I realized we were doing a 4:45/km pace, a little fast for a longish midweek run. So I backed off and when I stopped for a walk Roger also stopped as well. We walked for a bit and got going again, but never really backed off the pace to much as the runners in front of us never got much further ahead. At Tiffin I cut away and headed home. 15k or so done. Not a bad run, but not the best either.
As part of my training I have been looking at going down to Ohio to run at least one of the Burning River group training runs that are scheduled on various parts of the course. I had planned on doing this last year, but never got a round to it. Maybe that was a premonition of what was to come. So this year I made it a priority to make it to at least one. As it turns out I can only make it to 2 of the 5 dates, the first one on May 21st and the last one on July 10th. Not sure about going to the last one yet, but we shall see. As for the first one, which runs the first 18.6 miles of the course, I have registered and booked a hotel so its now just a matter of getting down there and if anyone will come with me. Oliver had expressed some interest, but can’t now and Joan has found out that she has the Saturday off so it looks like she will come if she can make arrangements for her Friday shift. And last night Roger tells me he is in Ohio for work all next week and may join me. That would be good too.
Anyway next blog will come after the 50 mile run to Wasaga and back, talk to you then.