STRAVA Summary

Friday, December 28, 2012

JFK 50 Mile - 2012

After a weekend at home, next up was the JFK 50 Mile race in Boonsboro Maryland. I had done this race back in 2008 and it was my first 50 miler. I didn’t particularly care for it at all, it was boring at times (The tow path), the trail was good, but the temperatures were rather cold. I think they said it had been one of the coldest on record.
So why go back. Kevin asked and that was all it took, and the fact that it was the 50th running of it. Eventually RickyMac signed up too and both he and KevO had the goal to make it their 50th marathon or ultra, in the 50th running for their 50th birthdays and of course it was a 50 miler.
Rick and I drove separately which after Missouri was a good choice, as I didn’t want to be crammed with 3 others in a car, unless it was a limo!! We drove part way down on Thursday night, and although we had planned on meeting up with Kev and Chris we took a wrong turn and ended up going another way.
We arrived in Hagerstown, Maryland midafternoon and as it was too early for the expo we went shopping. Then it was off to the expo, which wasn’t much more exciting than last time, but I did pick up a jacket and a sweatshirt for good prices.
Back to the hotel, met up with Kev and Chris and went to the Olive Garden for dinner.
Then back to the hotel and get ready for the next day and then bed for the night.
The morning came early, as they usually do, and took off to Boonsboro for the start. This year we had the luxury of having Chris with us to drop us off at the start and pick us up at the finish, only a few miles from our hotel.
It was barely light when we headed to the start area from the warmth of the school and we were still walking up to the start when the gun went off to signal the start. I think it caught a few by surprise, but we weren’t worried about setting any course records or anything.
So off we went and started the long climb up to the top of the Appalachian trail. From the start you more or less climb 2 to 3 miles up the road to the trail head and it is a fairly steep climb near the end. Once on the trail the climbing continues. The idea is to get to the trail head before the larger crowds of runners or you will be stuck behind and not able to run your own race. We all seemed to manage that. Kevin left me behind and I left Rick behind at the beginning of the trail.
Once on the trail I remembered parts of it, but had forgotten about large chunks of it. The climbing seemed relentless, but the views were spectacular. Luckily it was a nice sunny day, cool, but sunny. For some reason a lot of runners, me included seemed to have trouble tripping on roots and rocks. I had never experienced this before and have no explanation for it, but I was catching my toes on things regularly, almost going down a couple of times. The last few miles of the trail were very gnarly, to the point where it was hard to run and in some cases very dangerous. Getting off the trail was actually a relief, I was actually looking forward to the tow path. That didn’t last long.
It seemed that once I was on the tow path I couldn’t get into a rhythm. I was trying to run and it felt awkward. I would check my watch and find I was running to fast and try to slow down, but it didn’t seem to work. Eventually I came up with a plan to run 1.5 kilometres then walk half a k. this seemed to work well and kept me spirits up. Unfortunately it is a long stretch along the tow path and even the new strategy started to fall apart, but I would fall back to it and force myself to keep it up. Although I was being passed by others early on the path, I would find myself passing those same people later. Finally after 26 miles I got off the tow path and started the climb up to the rolling hills that would take us back to Williamsport and the finish. It would 8 miles to the end. At this point I was trying to calculate what finish time I could get, but I was realizing that it would take some monumental effort to beat my previous time here. Although I had a burst of energy on the road, it wasn’t enough and I would still need numerous walk breaks. Meeting up with a few other runners and chatting about this and that (running), I came in to finish at 9 hours and 12 minutes. Kev O was already dressed and had actually been back to the hotel for a shower too. He had finished in 7:53, 83rd overall. We weren’t quite so hopeful for Rick as Chris hadn’t even seen him on the course at all. So Kev took me back to the hotel so that I could shower and change.
We got back and found Rick already done!!! He had had a great race finishing in 9:48.

A good effort by all, although I wasn’t quite happy with my time, I was happy to be done. I’m sure that will be my last JFK though. I would support someone on it but not run it again. Like most races, there so many more out there to do, why do the same ones over many times.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Missouri and the Ozark 100

After two weekends in the US racing and supporting, I was off again for another running weekend down south. This one was a biggy. Supporting and pacing Scott Garrett for his 11th 100 miler of the year in his attempt to run one a month for 2012. This was to mark his 50th birthday. What some guys will do to avoid the reality of age.
This would be the longest road trip of them all, to Missouri and back for the Ozark Trail 100 in Mark Twain National Forest. A sixteen hour drive split up in to two days of driving there and back.
Scott and Shannon picked me up just after lunch on Thursday and we loaded my Rubber made tubs on the back of his Volvo and off we went. Next stop Waterloo to pick up Jeff Ashizawa who was also helping out and who I had never met, but knew of as he is quite an accomplished Ultra Runner in his own right. We picked up Jeff and headed on our way to Detroit all tucked in to Scott’s Volvo. It was rather tight and would find this would be rather painful upon arriving back home.
A rather painless border crossing and we were headed off to make to Gas City, Indiana to stay the night. I think we arrived sometime around 10, after stopping earlier for pizza in ?????
A fairly good relaxing sleep and we were up and at ‘em. Not much of a breakfast at the Super 8, but we went over to Starbucks to get some caffeine for the next stage of the journey. We drove past Indianapolis and St. Louis before stopping for lunch at a Grocery store, which helped stock up on other needed supplies. After miles and miles of nothing but flat terrain we finally started noticing hills. We arrived at the Bass River Resort fairly early, but eventually Scott Checked in we had the pre-race meal and listened to the RD’s pre-race instructions. Then it was off to find our cabin which was nearer the start. Bass River Resort was the finish. We travelled another hour plus t get there and were lucky to spot it, actually Shannon just happened to glance at a small sign as we drove by. Again we settled in for the night and readied for our early start.

The 6 am start would be cool and did manage to find it in time, on a road in the middle of nowhere, in the forest! Off Scott went and we went back to the cabin for a nap. It would be at least 10 am before we would see Scott again. After our nap we went for Breakfast at Paula’s Home Cookin’ in town. That in itself was an adventure. Talk about stereotyping, these people fit the mold of south local yokels! Talking about hunting, their guns, and not much else. And of course everyone knew each other. Not that I’m complaining about them, as everyone we met down there was very friendly, but we just didn’t quite fit in, but Jeff figured he could very easily after some time.
Off to the first crew accessible aid station to wait for Scott. On our way we thought we were getting lost, but managed to find our way. Getting there with about 20 minutes to spare. Scott came in looking good on a beautiful morning, we got everything ready for him and then sent him back on his way.

No it was another 6 hours or so before we’d see him again and that’s when Jeff could start pacing. So it was time to relax for us and we went to the nearest town big enough to have a Walmart and looked for gas and lunch.
Scott expected to be at the 48 mile mark at about 4 pm and he showed up at about 4:01. This aid station was bubbling with activity and was just basically a road crossing where the trail intersected with the road. Again Scott was doing well, he’d been through a few bad patches was up now, a quick snack and a refill of supplies and off he went with Jeff leading the way.

Shannon and myself went to the finish area to get our cabin there ready and have a nap so that I would be ready to run through the night with Scott. I didn’t sleep well, but got up and had some pizza. Or was that before my nap? Anyway we were off to the 64 mile aid station to meet with Scott and Jeff. We were unsure of timing and got there what we thought was just barely enough time. As it turned out we waited for a good hour and it was cold. Luckily there was a good bonfire going and we took up a few spots there waiting. A few false alarms, but eventually they came in. Jeff was cold as was Scott. They got into some warm clothes and when Scott was ready we were off. I lead into the darkness and boy was it dark. I started with a headlamp and a hand held, but my handheld was cheap and fairly useless. I put it away eventually. We did quite a bit of walking to start as I tried to get an idea what Scott wanted from me as a pacer. I would try to get him to run as often as possible. When I took over pacing we figured Scott was in about 30th place and we spent most of the night passing and being passed by the same runners. Gradually as the night drew on, Scott was not being as responsive to my chit chatting and I was finding it harder to come up with things to talk about. Every now and again I would hear Scott start to shuffle his feet loudly in the leaves< I knew he was falling asleep. “SCOTT” I would yell, “Are you awake?” He’d grumble and we’d continue on. I would sometimes get a little too far ahead of him and have to be conscious of his weariness. We would walk a lot, but run every now and again. Sometimes out of necessity as the cold would dictate how fast we moved. In the wee hours we’d arrive at an aid station and Scott would say that he’d need 3 minutes sleep. So after 3 minutes I would wake him and we’d be on our way again. At the second last aid station after another “nap” (Scott was at his lowest before coming into this station) we headed out and Scott seemed rejuvenated. We had started passing people even while walking before we got here and now he wanted to run and we passed more. As daylight arose there was an extra jump in his step and we ran a lot more than we walked, mostly only walking on the up hills. We were moving well and came into the final aid station feeling great, knowing that we had moved up substantially in the standings and Jeff and Shannon were there to greet us. Scott’s spirits were lifted and he had a goal to get in under 28 hours. This had been a tough race, only a few weeks after another tough one at Oil Creek and he was determined to beat his time there. Looking at the time I knew there was no problem beating it, but Scott didn’t. We left and ran the best we’d run all night we started passing more individuals. It was by far the best part of the run I had been involved in. The trails were great and the surrounding country side was beautiful. I can’t imagine what it would have been like about a month earlier with the leaves changing. Now they were just on the ground. The last few miles seemed to drag on, but Scott was still pushing hard. We kept trying to figure out where we were in relation to the finish line, but each time we thought we were in one place we would find that we were completely wrong. Finally we came out into a clearing and knew we were close. Scott came in at about 27:51 in 17th place overall and 1st runner over 50. An incredible experience and I was proud to be apart of Scott’s 11th 100 miler of the year. I loved running on the course and gave me thoughts about doing this one myself at some point in the future. The only draw back from the weekend was the long drive and my left hip is still bothering me from that.

Friday, November 30, 2012

MCM Weekend

Following the back to back weekend was another trip to the US, this time to Washington DC for the Marine Corp Marathon. The difference this time was that I wasn’t running. I would be acting as support, guide, coach, photographer, driver and chaperone for four lovely ladies who were going to be running the race. As I had done the race before and been to DC a number of times I offered my services to help out Shannon, Cindy, Karen and Joan. They warned me that I might never be the same, travelling for a weekend with four crazy blonds.
So we left on Thursday after work picking up Shannon and her minivan and then Karen and then on the highway. We travelled without incident to Erie, Pennsylvania. Got up in the morning and started the required shopping in Erie and then a “short” stop at Grove City for the outlet Mall. A couple of hours later we were back on the road. We arrived at about 10 pm in Alexandria, Virginia and settled in for the night. The next morning we headed off to the expo and got the girls checked in and did some more shopping at the expo.

Then it was sightseeing time. The girls had never been there before and so were keen to see what they could, in hind sight it may have been a bit much walking for the day before a marathon.

Regardless, we saw a lot of the museums and monuments before heading back to the hotel and then up the road to the nearest Olive Garden for dinner. Sunday morning came early and the ladies got ready and we headed out to drive to the Metro station and then head to Pentagon for the start.

This is where things started to resemble the time I did the race. Poorly organized for such a large race! Maybe it’s a case of too many people for the area that it is run in, at least the start and finish. We had to walk for a long way to get to the start area and by the time the girls got to the port-a-potties the race gun went off, signaling the start of the race. There were many people still lined up to use the facilities. The girls weren’t too worried, they weren’t in it to win it anyway.We all walked to the start area and took lots of pictures before I said my good bye’s and headed out to find them elsewhere on the course. I walked across the Potomac in to DC and along the course back towards the 9 mile mark where I could see them coming. I felt I got there early enough that I would be able to have a bit of brekkie. The temperature was a little cooler than I was thinking it would be so to get a bit of warmth in a restaurant was great. Back at the race I was not sure I would even see the girls in time to take pictures never mind see them at all.

I saw Shannon first and she was looking good and strong. The crowds of runners were thick, but I did see Cindy and Joan next, Cindy all smiles as usual, but looked like she was feeling the effects of her injuries. I never saw Karen at this point. Another hiccup in the day’s adventures was the Metro. The DC Metro is a fantastic system, but on this day although starting the Metro early for the runners I don’t think they put on any extra trains, as there were long waits between trains. Meaning each one was crowded with spectators and later, runners. I made it to the 17 mile mark unsure whether or not anyone and gone by yet. I walked around and just as I was suspecting that Shannon had gone by already, there she was. Still looking strong, but saying she was struggling a bit. I waited around at a point where I could see the runners going one way and coming back another way, but was afraid that I’d miss them this way, so I headed back over to the 17 mile mark and saw Cindy coming along. No sign of Joan though. Karen was next and was obviously just enjoying the race.

Joan came along shortly afterwards and was in tears. All her injuries were coming back to haunt her and she was not having a good time. I walked up the hill with her and encouraged her all I could. And then headed over to the 21 mile mark to see all but Shannon go by who was already past at that point. I walked again with Joan for a bit and reminded her to take her S Caps which she had forgotten about, hopefully that would help. I let her go, knowing the next time I would see all of them was at the finish. I got to the Metro and it was pure pandemonium. I waited 20 minutes for a metro which was packed with people, bikes, strollers and one old lady with a walker. Nobody could move. By the time I got to Arlington Cemetery I assumed I was late and would have at least missed Shannon coming across the finish line. Another hiccup! The instructions for spectators tell you to get off the metro at Arlington Cemetery. This entailed a walk back towards the finish line then up the hill and beyond, and beyond…. It seemed like I had to walk forever to get to the family meeting area and was hoping that the girls would be able to find their way there too as there seemed to be a few ways around.
I go the designated area and looked for Shannon and no, she wasn’t there. I walked around through mass crowds of people for an hour with no luck in finding anyone. I was starting to get worried. None of had any way of getting a hold of the others. I would back to the finish area and then back again numerous times. Finally going back to the meeting area I saw Cindy there. And within minutes, Karen and Shannon showed. They had all struggled, but were happy with finishing. I walked back up to the finish area to wait for Joan and she came through fairly quickly.
Shannon - 4:37:39
Cindy - 5:28:50
Karen – 5:31:06
Joan - 5:55:55

We all got back together and looked to get out of the downtown area. Another adventure begins. When we approached the metro we saw a long line and asked what it was for. The Metro was the reply. It was out of the building and wound down the street. And there were two lines, one on each side of the building. Now what? We decided to walk to either a taxi or the next station. We walked for about 45 minutes with no luck getting a taxi and still a long way from the next station, this after a marathon. Although Cindy was just wired from the juice she was drinking on the course. We had a 4pm late checkout but were in danger of missing it. Eventually we were able to wrangle a taxi and get back to the car. The girls got changed and showered in 30 minutes!!! Four women showering in 30 minutes! and not together either! Wow!
We were on the road by a little after 4 and were on the long road home. Another thing was this was the day before Hurricane Sandy and there was a lot of talk about not being able to make it home due to weather. As it turned out we had no issues and made it home in Barrie by about 2am. A long weekend, on the go a lot, but a lot of fun and some great runs by the ladies.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Back to Back again.

Another long time between blog postings, but here goes as I try to catch up on the whirlwind of events over the past month and a half, as well as what is coming up. Yes that’s right, I’m not quite done yet this year.

It started in the middle of October with Oliver, RickyMac and myself heading down to Dover, Delaware for the Monster Mash Marathon, the first of a back to back weekend. We left Thursday night and stayed in Syracuse before setting of for the remainder of the drive to Delaware. A decent drive and in the comfort of Oliver’s Acura was nice. We shared the driving all weekend and arrived in Dover with lots of time to spare before the expo even opened.
Dover is not a very big place, but it was homecoming weekend (whatever that is) and the hotels were full, luckily Rick had booked ours ahead of time.
This was only the second year for this race and there were a few little things that they could have done better, but generally a good little event. The expo was just a packet pick up, nothing else. We went to the Olive Garden for dinner, across the road form the hotel and after a walk around, retired for the night.

The race starts at in the Dover Speedway on the track and the first mile is around the track. At 7 am we were off and running, that lap around the track is not runner friendly, with an extreme camber to the infield. Once we got out of the stadium it was much better. In to town and around a nice part we hadn’t seen yet. But by 10k we were headed out of town to the country roads for the next 30k. The only complaint I had (other than track) was that the country road section was rather boring. It was a nice day and there was some scenic areas, but generally it was well…. blah. My run went very well, I didn’t see Rick and Oliver after the start until an out and back at about half way and then until the finish. This was my first marathon in 2 years and I felt great, other than a few aches and pains early in the race. I finished very strong with a time of 3:36 outside the speedway. Rick came in next just over 4 hours, followed by Oliver shortly after wards.

We raced back to the hotel to beat the late checkout, showered and were back on the road by a little after noon. We were now on our way to Atlantic City for marathon number two. A two plus hour drive away.
I had attempted to run Atlantic City a few years ago when accompanying KevO for his first back to back. I was injured at the time and never made it through the first mile before my calf seized up. My memories of AC were not fond ones and not just because of my race, the city was a real sleazy hole and the race itself seemed very poorly organized. So I was very hesitant about this year’s race.

We arrived in AC and went to Baly’s for the expo etc.. Already the City looked better, cleaner and things were looking up. It still has a very sleazy side to it, but it looking better. The expo was much bigger and had more to offer. On our way from the expo we wondered through the Casino. Rick tried to spend a few dollars on a slot machine, but they wouldn’t take his bills.
Then for lunch on the boardwalk in the sun, meeting up with fellow runners and a few back to backers. After a couple of beers it was back to the hotel and then off to do a bit of shopping and eat.
The next morning came too quickly and we headed off to the start. It was great being able to stay in the casino and stay warm waiting for the start. It wasn’t cold out, but it wasn’t hot either so it was more comfortable in the Casino.
Soon we were in the corrals waiting for the start. I thought we’d all run together, but once the gun went off I started off at my own pace, a comfortable pace, and left Rick and Oliver behind. We ran along the boardwalk for a bit then into town, through a tunnel and around, before coming back to the boardwalk again. I was a little apprehensive as to how I would feel, but the legs were ok, a little sore at the start, but once we got going they just felt slightly stiff. I was waiting for things to go downhill, but it never happened. I ran well. After the halfway mark we off the boardwalk again and into some more neighbourhoods in the south end of town. A this point I struggled a bit, but once again was able to pick up the pace felt really strong in finishing. Actually I felt stronger finishing this race than I did the day before. Time = 3:41. The finish area was a nice courtyard of the hotel and was a sun trap so it was nice and warm, I enjoyed my free post race beer and some big pretzels (great idea), and waited for the others to finish. They finished in about 4:12 with smiles on their faces as usual, although Oliver’s was more like a grimace. My impressions of this race were that it was very well done was a decent course, flat and fast. I’m not sure about the boardwalk running though. I talked to the race director afterwards and he said that the race has been under new management for the past few years and they have made big changes. I noticed!!!
After changing a nice walk/stretch along the boardwalk to go to the Hard Rock Café for Oliver and have some lunch and then back to the car and off we went home stopping in Scranton for the night on the way back.

A successful B2B weekend.

Next up the Marine Corp Marathon. I wouldn’t be running, only acting as driver, photographer, chaperone for four blonde’s!!! Would I survive? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Back to Back Weekend

This coming weekend will mark the first time in two years that I will be running a marathon, almost to the day. Two years ago I ran the Lochness marathon in Inverness Scotland on October 3rd and then a week later I ran Munich. Both great events which I ran with Ricky Mac. This weekend I will travel down to Dover, Delaware with Ricky Mac and Oliver to do the Monster Mash Marathon on Saturday and the Atlantic City Marathon on Sunday. My first Back to Back in about 3 years. In for a penny in for a pound.
When Rick asked me a few months ago if I’d be interested in going I thought that this would be a good preparation for the JFK 50 Mile in November. I hope to rest on my training for North Coast a few weeks ago as I haven’t done a lot of distance since then, 32k a week ago followed by 20k the next day. Oliver signed up last weekend and it should be a good road trip with no intentions on PB’s or anything like that.
Dover is a small race with, at last count, only 188 runners registered for the marathon. Atlantic City will be a redemption run as I attempted this race a few years ago and only got through the first mile when my calf blew up on me. So hopefully this race will go better.
How am I feeling? Not bad. My right knee has been acting up lately, but I attributed that to some of the strength work I was doing, specifically the Sumo Squats. So I have stopped doing those and there is an improvement, but the problem is not so much with what I am doing, but more of an inherent problem. I went to Physio yesterday and Shaun told me that with the slight deformities in my right lower leg (foot stick out normally and apparently I have a curve in my tibia) cause some issues. So back to doing some physio exercises that manipulate the glutes into working properly. Lunges, starting with small amounts of movement to get the technique and posture correct. I’m continuing with the core work and strength (not the week before a race though).
So Thursday late afternoon we head off and will stop part way down to Dover for the night before driving the rest of the way on Friday, so that we are not rushed. It’s a two hour drive between Dover and AC so that should be easy!!!
After the race on Sunday it will be pack up and on our way to Scranton to stop the night at the Hampton Inn. Apparently Rick has stopped there before and it is a nice hotel with a bar that has $2 pints. Drive home on Monday. Simple as that!!!!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

North Coast 24 Hour storm

"It was a rainy day" just doesn't quite cover it. The North Coast 24 Hour Endurance Run was a huge success despite the conditions.
Myself and Chris B. Battman travelled down to Cleveland last Friday with Joan VH doing the driving and offering up support for us during the race. We got to the Second Sole Store in Rocky River for the packet pick up and met up with race director John and his girlfriend Hope. Then we were off to Dave's place, who had graciously offered up his home for us to stay in. Getting there was a bit of an adventure though, as the GPS wanted to take us to the wrong side of Cleveland. I used my instincts and got to the right side and then we phoned to get more intricate directions. We were there by just after 6 pm and met up with Dave and his wife Sandra. A couple of beers and some wine and we were then eating our fill of pasta. a few hours of chatting and laughing and it was bed time.
Luckiy the race doesn't start till 9 am so we could almost sleep in. We were up by 7 and on the road by 7:45 for the 45 minute drive to the start. Dave said he would see us later as he planned on coming out to "pace" or run a few laps (20 miles) with me.
Once at Edgewater park, we unpacked and set up our tent near the RWOL's base camp and met most of that group, who Chris knew.
Chris had run this event last year.
I was also ran into Pam R. who I met at Green Jewel earlier in the year. We had kept in touch via FB since.

At 9 am the horn sounded and off we went for the first of many .9 mile paved bike path loops. Sounds rather monotonous and I was a little leery and what to expect. I had no real plan and wasn't sure how I would fit in walk breaks, so I just went with how I felt. After about 4 laps I took my first walk break and thought I would do that every 3 loops there after. I tried, but it didn't quite work out that way. The two front runners were running like fiends and I was getting lapped after 5 or 6 laps. Now I'm not really fast, but I'm not slow either and this took me by surprise. Later someone mentioned that Jay Aldous (one of the two) was going for the Masters record and attempting to run 160 miles. he was looking strong early.

The weather early was overcast and cool but soon warmed up enough to take the outer shell off and eventually the sun would come out for varying degrees of time.
The running was going well and every know and again I would take a full lap walk break,but generally I would walk from the timing mat to the corner where the lake started, about 100 meters. Joan VH had decided to take advantage of some downtime and run while we were and ran about 13 miles of her own. I would pass Chris every now and again, but he was only a few laps behind me.
At Lap 41 the storm clouds started to draw closer and by the second half of lap 42 not only was it raining heavily, but hail started to come down. marble sized hail, enough to sting, but not damage. The wind picked up and RD John runners to take shelter in the pavilion, most did as did I... for a few minutes and then decided I was wet already and the hail had stopped, might as well continue on. The storm seemed to take its toll as the path was a lot less crowded after the storm arrived. John said that reports were that the storm would blow by after about 45 minutes to an hour. The storm might have, but the rain and wind didn't. There was some clearing later in the evening, but that was temporary too. Basically it rained off and off all night. THe wind kept blowing too and as the night drew on the temperature dropped. Keeping moving was a necessity to keep warm. Running worked even better, the problem was talking your aching body into moving faster than a walk wasn't always successful.

The breaks in the weather provided for some nice views, with rainbows and a glorious view of downtown Cleveland at sunset.

As the race progressed I was trying to contemplate how far I would go. I was feeling good for the first 40 odd miles, by the time I hit 50 miles I was only 9 hours into the race and the mind was thinking about the possibilities... 120, 130 miles or more maybe. I struggled a bit after 50 miles, but at 55 miles seemed to get a second wind for the next 10 miles I was flying and feeling great. I kept to my plan for those laps and it seemed to be working well. Some time during these laps Zack showed up to do some pacing for Pam. He walked with us while I did a one lap walk break and caught up on a few things. On my 64th mile Dave showed up and was ready to run for a while. We walked a lap and then he got ready and we ran. But unfortunately he couldn't stay. So we didn't get as much of a run together in as we thought. Probably just as well as it shortly after that that the wheels started to come off and I started to go down hill. I was expecting to at some time and it they fell off with a thud.

I had planned on having extended breaks at 33 miles 50 miles and 66 miles. It gave me a chance to rub the legs out and put some Traumeel on to help with any aches and pains. By the time I got to 65 miles I needed it badly and stopped for a lay down and a leg rub. Getting going form a walk was hard to do at this point, getting from laying down and trying to run was near impossible. I would walk a lap or so and then continue running. When I got to 70 miles I was doing the math in my head; 30 miles to go to make one hundred and 9 1/2 hours to do it. At 74 miles it was a marathon to go and 8 and a half hours to do it. Just a minute I could walk that and still have time to spare. So it began the long walk or death march to the finish. Joan went to go and sleep as she would be needed to drive home in the morning and I continued on. The laps seemed to get longer with every time around. As the night went by I was thinking about how few people were left on the course. from 150+ to start, there only seemed to be about 30 out there now. I didn't see Chris much, or Pam either. Sue Scholl was still going around very strongly and I was thinking that she might even win this the way she was going.
There was a time when I hit 91 laps that I realized that I had 20 laps to go to hit 100 miles, and at 15 minutes per lap (my walking pace) I still had 5 hours to go. That seemed like an eternity. Each lap I would count down the 15 minute intervals, it didn't make it any better.
Joan joined me with about 6 laps to go, and at this point I was in a very dark place mentally and physically. I knew I would finish but it wouldn't be pretty. When the dawn broke it helped with my mood a little, Pam passed us with about two laps to go to 100, and she was her usual cheerful self. she started singing Good morning Sunshine (grrrrr). She was still quite a few laps behind me.
At about 22 hours and 40 minutes I crossed the 100 mile mark and called it a day. I received my buckle from John with a hand shake and looked behind me to see Chris come to the timing matt. He still had quite a few miles to go and not long to do it to get to 100 miles. At this point I went to the car to lay down and nap for the remainder.
Just before the siren went off to signal the end of the race and 24 hours were up, Joan and Chris got back to the car. Chris smiling with his buckle in hand. He had done it with 12 minutes to spare.

We quickly got our stuff together and headed back to Dave and Sandra's who had offered us breakfast, a shower and a hot tub. We readily agreed to accept.
A 45 minute drive and we were back in Novelty, Ohio for some well needed hospitality. We showered jumped in the hot tub for a bit and then had breakfast. It was at about this time when I think it all caught up to me. I wasn't feeling well and thought I better go to the bathroom and then got up and passed out. Luckily Dave was there to catch me and lay me on the floor. A cool damp wash cloth and a drink of water and I was feeling fine. Not long later we were on our way back to Barrie. Chris and I out cold from Cleveland to Buffalo.

Overall a good day etc. a great event, the only downer was the weather, and no one can control that. We met some great people and had a lot of fun, regardless of how grumpy I was at the end.

Monday, September 17, 2012

North Coast 24 Hour.

In 5 days I will be running my first timed event. The North Coast 24 hour race in Cleveland at Edgewater park. Am I ready for it? I don't know really what to expect so not really. But my feelings are, maybe being a little naive, but how hard can it be compared to Vermont or last years Burning River? the course is a .9 mile loop in a park on a paved trail on the waterfront. SOunds "easy", but I'm sure mentally it will be tough.
My logic is that if I can run 50 miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes at Sulphur Springs on a fairly hilly course then I should be able to get 50 miles done in 10 hours at least and then another 14 hours to complete the last 50 miles to get 100 in. Easy eh? I'm sure it won't be, but I will hopefully have fun trying. My goal is to complete 100 miles and get a buckle. I think it will also be a confidence booster after struggling at Vermont. Its been a struggle to get back on track since, but a few changes in direction and staying away from races (as hard as that has been) has helped in the healing.
I started a strength and core training program a few weeks ago and I hope to see some fruits from that in a few months. I think I know what my problems have been over the past year and hope to make the necessary changes. lack of strength, not enough long solo runs, too many events, no hill work..... So the changes have started. Now I just need a boost of confidence.
So a drive to Cleveland and run around in circles for 24 hours and see what it leads.

Follow to come next week. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Post Vermont Activities

Although I'm still licking my wounds after Vermont, I have been busy and slowly getting back into the running. The weekend following Vermont we went down to Ohio to volunteer for Burning River. An early Friday morning (4am) asn we were off to get to Cayuhoga Falls for the registration and hung around all afternoon for that. The next morning we volunteered at the second aid station at Gates Mills and met lots of good people there and cheered on and helped all the runners coming through. We saw some friends that were running too, including Scott Garrett attempting to complete number 7 of 12 100 milers this year. After we packed up just after 8am, we went back to the hotel for breakfast and then back to bed for a good nap as we had gotten up at 4:30 am. About 8 hours sleep over 2 nights. Once we got up we went out to do some shopping and then to follow the runners out there. I bought a pair of Hoka's to try as they had been recommended and I was at the point of willing to try anything. I stopped by the Station Rd. aid station to see Bob King and say hi and then caught up with some of the runners at Happy Days aid station at 65 miles. Scott was struggling at this point and his crew, Jocelyn Briggs and pacer Ken Moon were waiting for him. That was it for us, we went back to the hotel after a long day. Scott finished in 26 hours and 22 minutes or so. We did get a couple of runs in while there. One run on Saturday on the roads around Beachwood, beautiful area. Then on Sunday we ran on the BR100 course from Polo Fields for about 12k.
Last Weekend I was asked to try a bike rid ein Algonquin Park. New friend Bryan aske dme to do Gate to Gate and if possible to gate again. A total of about 112k, which is almost double what my longest ride ever was. We went up Saturday and checked into our hotel in Huntsville and then off to Bryan and Janette's hotel on the edge of the park. The to meet the rest of the riders who were group camping in the park. There was about 20 or so in total.
The next morning we met at Bryan and Janette's hotel and thenwere off to the campground. Bryan and I would start at 7:30 from the camp ground entrance to get a head start. Neither of us are experienced riders and wanted to get a head start. We would meet the rest at the East gate for the group picture.
We rode well and got through some of the early hills with no problem and made the first 19.5k in about 46 miutes. Gradually the rest of th erides caught up and those that were only riding gate to gate arrived in vehicles with their bikes. After pictures we were soon on the go.
Although some of the hills were tough it was a good ride to the other end of the park. There were a couple of rest stops on the way, which I believe were very helpful. I got to the west gate feeling very good. 76k done and only 36 to go. The next 15k I rode hard as it was a little easier going. more down hills. But the last section is where i started to really suffer and struggle. It was riding with Bryan for the last 6k that really helped. The rain came dowm for the last kilometer or so and we got drenched. but it was a great day and we enjoyed something a little different. THanks to Joan and Jannette for their support an dpciture taking skills.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Vermont 100, or at least part of it.

So its taken me a while to get around to writing about my adventure at the Vermont 100. I’ve been mulling about for the past two weeks as to what went wrong, what I should have done, what I did wrong etc. and I think I’ve got it straight in my head now, not that its going to help my ego and the fact that I crashed out miserably, but I know there are things I should done differently and that at least means there is hope to get it done. Probably what hurts more right now is that it two races in a row that I have DNF’d at now. Granted at the Niagara 100k I was thinking that I would be saving my Vermont 100 race by quitting when I did.

We headed off on Thursday morning in Joan’s Tribute, packed to the gills with everything and then some, and that was before we picked up Catherine. Luckily we had bought the roof top carrier as that saved us. Rick and Joan would share the driving as we headed off and on our way to stay Thursday night just outside of Saratoga Springs, NY. Very nice area and the town itself is just oozing wealth. A nice meal and off to bed to get ready for the two and a half our ride to Springhill Meadow, not far from South Woodstock, VT. A few stops on the way to pick up a few necessities and we were at Race/camp/start/finish/expo/dinner tent at about 1:30 p.m. After setting up the tents we wondered over to the registration, first order of business was to by merchandise, hoodie - check , done. I was little wary of buying a sweatshirt as this meant that I had to finish the race and I wasn’t confidant that it was a given. But I said to hell with that and bought one anyway. Next was our bib pick up and then the medical. Yes, medical.

The first time I would have to do this for a race. I was a little concerned about blood pressure as I tend to get a little nervous around doctors and it is usually elevated higher than normal. But mine was not bad in this day 135/75. Off to get weighed next and the scale hit 172.2 lbs. Not bad fully clothed and with no running the past week. And that was that. Back to the camp to finish organizing and unpacking, getting the gear ready for the next day’s race.

We met up with Andrea, another Ontario runner from Hamilton who runs with the Burlington Runners. She had the neatest tent, just open it and voila it was set up. A few tent pegs and the fly to put on and it was ready.
Not long after we met our other neighbours, who happened to be from Montreal Kate and Gary, although Gary didn’t sound like he was from there. Turned out he was originally from London etc. and him and Joan hit it off from there, with Joan’s huge knowledge of that part Britain, having lived in the area for a few years. I prefer the north!! People aren’t as up tight and stuck up. Cockney wankers!!! Hahahaha.
We went off to the pre race meeting and dinner at about 4 pm , took a few pictures group shots of some of the other GTA folks we knew and then went into the meeting and ate.

Lots of food, more than anyone could eat, but we to run a hundred miles the next day, so fueling is important, as I found out the next day, the hard way.

We headed back to the tents and by 10 I think most of were asleep, maybe not soundly, but resting at least. I think I was awake before the alarms all started going off at around 3 am. I got dressed had my pre race shake and loaded up my gear, headlamp, shoes,…
Off to the starting area we all trudged. Headlamps everywhere all heading in the same direction, the dining tent. It was a cool morning and the forecast looked favourable with highs only in the mid to high 80’s. Much better than it could be in Vermont at this time of the year and definitely cooler than Burning River last year. Everyone huddled in the tent, some drinking coffee, some eating bagels or there pre race food of choice. I was ready and just watched while Joan and Rickymac took in the sights and took pictures. They would be my life line for the next 24 plus hours as my crew and later as my pacers. Catherine was just using drop bags and a pacer who she had met here last year, who came down from Nova Scotia.
Soon we were at the start and at 4 the horn went off and so did we.

The first kilometere is all down hill along the road we came in on, but it soon turns up hill and then into the bush for the first trail section. I was feeling good and trying to hold myself back as much as possible. Once we hit the trail I found my first small issue, I wore a headlamp which was bright enough, but it wasn’t easy to see the unevenness of the ground below, that’s why some runners use handheld lights and I probably should have brought one too. First lesson learned, not a biggy but worth noting. As long as I ran in a group it was fine, but when I was by myself it was a bit more difficult. Most of the trail was a bit of single track /double track or old forest road. But with in a couple of kilometers we were back on the road. So far so good, although I was probably going a little faster than I needed too. When we turned left on to Densmore Hill Rd we hit our first “hill”. Light was starting to filter through the trees a bit as dawn started to break, but it was still dark. We were only about 8k into the race. The first hill was a prelude of what was to come, it felt lie it just kept on going up and up and up. I walked the majority of it, as did most of the others I ran with. Other’s passed me as they ran the hills, but I was trying to save myself. I was drinking regularly as it was still rather humid and started my S Caps on the half hour every hour. I would eat some Isalean bar segments each hour (another mistake, not enough food). A lot of what transpired between here and coming into South Woodstock is a bit of a blur now, I do remember wanting to go to the bathroom, but there were no outhouses around or at the early aid stations. I was starting to look for trees and leaves that may help me out, but eventually we came to an unmanned aid station at 11 miles with a porta-potty… and a line up. It didn’t matter at this point. Ken Moon was also in line in front of me. After a delay of about 10 minutes I was back off and running again. From here there was a long downhill stretch into the town of South Woodstock and then a right turn over a bridge and not long after we were leaving the town.
I forgot to mention earlier the horses. The race is run in conjunction with a 100 mile horse race too, which starts 1 hour after the foot race. I can’t remember when the first horses passed me, but I believe it was just prior to my bathroom break. The horses have to follow a strict schedule of rest stops and feeding for the horses, so we would pass them back and forth quite regularly.

At just past 22 miles we came into the pretty house aid station and our first meet up with our crews. Joan and Rick were getting everything I needed which was just a shake and a refill of my hydration pack. It was just past 8am and the sun was up, it was getting warmer now. Here was another mistake, I was definitely sweating a lot and I hadn’t stepped up the use of my S caps. I should have gone to one every 30 minutes at this point. I am a heavy sweater and I found that It worked well at BR100 to increase the use if I’m sweating lots and it is hot and humid. I was taking them every 15 minutes at BR100.
I left Pretty house downhill and on the dirt road which led to a paved section for half a kilometre, then another dirt road before heading back into the bush,. It would be only about 8 miles to reach the next crew station, but I was feeling that this was not going to be a picnic already. The next climb was brutal and I was walking a lot, I would run the downhills and the flats, but mostly walk the uphills. This climb was easily the hardest yet. Although it was a mix of up and down it was still a climb to the top of a “mountain”. When I finally go to the top, it was a meadow and the view was amazing. You could see in all directions for miles and miles. From here it was downhill almost all the way down to the Stage Road aid station and my crew. The first part of the downhill though was difficult to run as it was steep and grass, and the grass was long enough to give e the feeling that I could twist my ankle very easily if I wasn’t carefull. I was already starting walk on some of the downhills as fatigue was setting in to some of my quad muscles. I came into the aid station and needed to sit for a minute or two.

I changed my shoes at this point, refueled, had another bathroom break and then off I went. At this point I was feeling the first feelings of doubt, it wasn’t helped with the next climb, which was straight up and over a large ridge. At the top I was suffering and from this point I don’t have a lot of memories of what transpired. I remember running on a main road where the traffic was backed up, because of us and having one minvan with Ontario plates, ask me how far do I have go yet? I looked at my garmin and replied “only 100k”. Holy crap, not even close to half way yet. We crossed a covered bridge and came to another aid station. I was in and out quick and started running with “Wooly”, a guy that everyone seemed to know, I think he said he was from New Hampshire. We ran, walked together for quite a while. At this point I was having trouble with the shoes I had changed into, the insole on the right foot was continually riding up the back of the shoes to the point where it was sticking out of the back of the shoe. I had to stop 4 times to take it off and readjust. Eventually I said to hell with it.and ran with it the way it was. The next hill was on a dirt road and it just went on for about a couple of kilometers, never going down, always up. Wooly would run a ahead, but I would always catch up to him. At least until we got to the top. The other side was a blur too, I remember coming to an unmanned aid station by a field and was told by someone there that there were no more up hills until Camp Ten Bear aid station, as I looked at runners ahead of me climbing another “incline”. My quads were in pain at this point and I was sweating an incredible amount. Eventually I came down the hill into Camp Ten Bear after struggling to run downhill in severe pain. This was the first medical station on the course and the first requirement was a weigh in. 163 lbs!!! I had lost 9lbs in the first 47 miles, unbelievable. You are allowed up to a 7% weight loss and I was at 6%. The medical folks told me that I needed to sit down, take in some food and gain some weight back before heading back out. I was more than willing to take my time. Apparently when I came into the station I was as white as a ghost too. I had a a shake and some other food, lots to drink, but the cramping in my legs was incessant. I couldn’t do anything with out my legs cramping. I have never had the muscles in the front of my shins hurt, but today they were extremely painful. After About 20 minutes in the aid station I thought, its time to get going again and started getting ready. That’s when I saw Catherine come in. looking as fresh as a daisy. Good for her, but it was hurting my ego to know she was passing me. I went out a head of her, knowing fine well that she would catch me at some point. As it turned out it wasn’t long. At this point I also came across Desiree Cowie, who I hoping to see at some point this weekend, but didn’t expect to see her on the course. We chatted for a bit before a I ran ahead.

The next hill did me in completely. Again it was straight up on trail and the heat was starting to get to me. I was sweating so much it just didn’t seem natural. I more or less staggered up the hill and at one point I felt faint. I got to the top and then hit the flat finally, soon after Catherine passed me again and I thought I would try and run… I made one step and everything cramped at once. I couldn’t move and almost passed out trying to stretch it out. But everything was cramping, not just one muscle. At this point I realized my day was done. Desiree caught up to me and asked if I needed anything. I told her no, just tell them at the next aid station I am dropping. The cramping finally subsided and I was able to “walk” to the next aid station and tell them I was done. It as difficult to do, but I knew that running wasn’t going to be possible. Another runner who cam e in tried to tell me not as I would get it back, but I knew differently on this day. The damage had been done earlier. 51.6 miles done, and I was done.

I got a ride back to Tracer Brook aid station where Joan and Rick were and they looked shocked to see me and obviously disappointed. It wasn’t my day.

We hung around Tracer Brook at saw as many of the people we know as possible, Ken, Catherine, Desiree, Kate and Gary. We cheered them all. Kate and Gary asked Rick if he’d be interested in pacing them as their pacer had to back out and since he wouldn’t be pacing me anymore. He agreed and would meet them at Camp Ten Bear on there way back.
We spent the rest of the evening/night following our runners around from aid station to aid station and helping out wherever we could. It was hard to stay awake but we did at least until Catherine finished at 24 hours and 21 minutes. We missed Ken finishing in 22 hours…

So what went wrong?

The obvious was the lack of fuelling and electrolytes. I don’t know what I was thinking to not eat enough, but… the electrolytes I should have figured out at some point, but didn’t. Also I don’t think the training has been the best this year. Too many events instead of concentrating on getting in a lot of long solo training runs like a I did last year. Injuries haven’t helped and my confidence hasn’t been the best with poor results in some of the events that I have run in, i.e. Niagara. Some times you just have to live and learn.

Next year!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Niagara Ultra Training Run!

I have a habit of not doing what I am supposed to do when it comes to running and the Niagara 100k was no different. I should have used this race to practice my pacing for Vermont, but no I decided (subconsciously) to race a distance I had never done before. Stupid Ass! Well it bit me in the ass and I DNFkd for the first time this year. I ran with Bill till half way, but should have ran my own race and heeded what other runners were doing. Not to blame Bill, I need to run my own race.
It all started at 6am. The temperature was nice, but not being too cool meant it would get warm as is usually the case at Niagara, where there is little shade. Starting at 6 was a blessing as the run out to the Falls was good and we felt good, probably too good. I had some good conversations with Chris McPeak and Lee Anne Cohen, but they got smart and backed off the pace. I picked it up to catch up to Bill. With the injuries, hamstring, kneee, glute, piriformis etc. This wasn't a smart move, but I was feeling good at this point. We hit the turn around at 25k at about 2 hours and 20 minutes. Headed out again and we were surprised when the first 50k runner passed us. Holy shit he was moving. The run back become some what more difficult. There are the up hills out of the Falls on concrete sidewalk, but was that just an excuse? It was nice to see the other runners going the other direction too. Bill and I were both taking more walk breaks as we progressed and few more runners were passing us. By the time we got to 50k it was becoming clear that to finish was going to be difficult to say the least. I got changed refuelled and headed back out, leaving Bill, who said to just go on. He wasn't looking good. His ankle and foot were bothering him. My right leg was staring to become a real problem.
I walked out of the 50k aid station and walked for quite a while. WHen I started to run it was far from comfortable, but I determined to continue on. At least for now. Iw ould continue on to walk/run/walk until the 60k mark where at that point I was mentally in a bad place and my leg was screaming at me to stop. With Vermont coming in 4 weeks I made the decision to stop. THere was no reason to continue on and do more damage. It helped that Kelly was waiting for Bill there and I knew I could get a ride back. Bill showed up about 10 minutes later and tried to talk me into continuing, but although I almost did, I knew there was no point. Joan had also came into the aid station at this point on her way back on the 50k and agreed with my decision.
I went back to the start line and had a couple of beers something to eat and cheered inthe 50k runners in.

This was great seeing people I know finishing in great fashion. Chris "Battman" Battaglia setting a PB for the 50k, as did Steen for this course. RickyMac finished and of course Joan finishing her first 50k. I also saw Deanna from work finishing her first too.

After heading back to the hotel to get cleaned up and looking for runners on the course we went to the outlet

mall for a bit and then back to the start finish to see the rest of the 100k finishers coming in.
Passed a few on the route back in and saw Catherine just tearing up the course she had passed many runners since I had seen her last and was looking very strong. Chris McPeake was still out there and struggling. He looked like he'd been dropped in a hot pool with all the sweat dripping off of him. Back at the start Bill had already finished and was getting cleaned up. He had finished in 11:47, a tough second half , but he did it. I watched Lee Ann come in and she also looked strong. Then Catherine came in, 12:47 a great job and she is on course to do great at Vermont at this rate. Good to see. Chris struggled in after having a really hard time with stomach issues etc., at least he finished.

A tough day for all, but some did a lot better than others. Myself? I have come out of it with my confidence in shatters, but still trying to convince myself that I did the right thing, but worried about what caused me to stop. I still have a few weeks to correct everything before Vermont, but its not going to be easy.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Base Borden Run

Register for the Base Borden Run Oct. 21

Lace up with the Canadian Forces and Georgian College for the Base Borden Run on Sunday, Oct. 21. Walk, run or roll in the 5km, 10km or half-marathon events hosted on the scenic grounds and training facilities of Canadian Forces Base Borden.

Proceeds support Operation Hero, an endowed scholarship for military family members who are pursuing an education at Georgian College.

This is Simcoe County’s fastest growing charity run – uniquely military from start to finish.

Registration includes t-shirt and commemorative dog tag. Enjoy a challenging, chip-timed course on varying terrain.

Register on-line at:

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Catching Up! Again!

So you might think that this was planned, but I was planning on doing a race report for Pick Your Poison and hadn't got around to it. Now that it is two week's later I have just finished the Seaton Trail 52k race and figured maybe I could do both race reports in one blog entry.


On a beautiful spring morning we all assembled at the Heights of Horseshoe for the 4th annual running of the Pick Your Poison trial races. It was a nice sunny day, but a rather cool one and just slightly windy. Lots of familiar faces were there at the starting, too many to mention here, but generally the usual Barrie RoadRunners that enjoy the trails and, of course, the many OUS regulars. I went in to the chalet to collect me race swag and was very disappointed to find that they were out of T-Shiirts (WTF!), but shortly after telling me that they discovered a couple of boxes with copious amounts of shirts. So I got my shirt, my jar of local honey and was ready to run. I got all my stuff together at the car (or so I thought) and headed to the start area to mingle prior top the start. Chatting with Shawn, Nancy, Chris M., etc. We listened to the race director Adam Hill give us our pre race directions and then we were off.
My thoughts for this race were to just run a nice easy pace and be consistent and try to at least beat my last time running PYP. So running the few kilometre's were fairly flat to downhill and this spread out the crowd a bit. The 12.5k, 25k and 50k all started at the same time!! Down the old dirt road to a short single track section and across a small creek we were back on double track/road again at about 4k we were into our first short climb and then to the ski hills and the first aid station. This climb was a little bit more significant and would be more of challenge for each loop. THen down a single track and more double track before hitting "heart attack hill". Not sure if anyone would have run this one, I know I didn't. Once at the top another gentle climb to another aid station and back again to some great single track. A hard downhill followed and then some more climbs from the valley floor a few times before climbing the back of the ski hill to head back down to the finish.

THe second loop felt good too, but by the third I was starting to feel the pace of the first 2 loops. A few more walk breaks were needed and I was getting a bit disappointed in the fact that I was not able to maintain a consistent run. The 4th lap was again a bit of struggle, but I pushed my self harder than the last one to finish in 5:12, 3 minutes faster than the last time I finished this race. Not entirely happy but at least I was not injured at all.

17th place out of 50 runners.


I was always say that I won't do this race next year, but keep coming back. Not sure why, but I know it was one of the more difficult races on the OUS circuit. The plan was to run easy and again try to be consistent. And thats how it felt till the creek crossing. A couple of the front runners had stopped to take their shoes and socks off to cross (WTF???). I roared across in my usual fashion and on the other side I found my self alone!! WTF???. I couldn't be in first place could I? Apparently that was the case. I ran on, trying to maintain that easy pace, but I think my sub conscious was taking over pushing me to run harder and maintain the position. I continued Along till about 5k when I noticed another runner behind me. Ken Arnott was slowly reeling me in and this was a good thing. Being in first is not a comfortable position for me, so having Ken pass me at 6k was a relief. Unfortunately I kept the pace up and stayed in second until about 35k. I traded positions with another runner, must have been one of the runners who had taken their shoes and socks off earlier, cuz he did it again and I would leave him behind, only for him to catch up again. THis went on until he passed for good at 35k. At 40k I took a nasty tumble when I caught a stump and my calf locked up on me. My calf was never the same after this and run deteriorated from this point on and a lot of walking was had until the end. I finished in 5:49, not as fast as in the past, but better than last year for sure. This year was dry as a bone, compared to last years muddy monsoon.

Again I wasn't totally happy with the way I ran this race, but not bad. Work still to be done to get where I want to be. Consistent!!!

5th out of 46 registered runners.

Two weeks later it was time for Sulphur Springs 50 mile race. I had been here for this race the past two years, the first of which I didn't finish. That was a year where the results were written, by that I mean it wasn't going to happen. I didn't have the will and knew in my mind my goals weren't going to happen that year. I quit before the 3rd loop was over. Last year was a completely different story and I finished well and felt good about doing it. My drive was much greater and it showed. This year I was a little unsure. Like two years ago I was not as confident, but I still had the drive. The weather was much drier and warmer than last year and again tried to keep a nice easy pace that's what I thought I was doing as I followed and ran with at times Dawn Hamel and April Boultbee. On the second loop Laurie McGrath ran with us. It was a good easy pace and we were walking all the hills. Sometimes I would take a longer walk but would always catch up to them. On th least downhill, which is a couple a kilometres long I left them behind as I love running that downhill. Two laps down and feeling good. I took a long break to refresh, change shoes etc and then back out again. Now I was running alone for the most part and the dreaded third loop blahs caught up to me. It was a struggle to get through this loop as usual, but still better than two years ago. Finishing the 3rd loop I saw BIll going back out and only a few minutes ahead. The girls said he was not doing well and that I may catch him. But I took a nice long break again and off I went, full of piss and vinegar as I was thinking I may catch him. As it was he was renewed as well and I was never going to catch him. The rejuvenation soon faded and I was walking a lot. The last lap was one of the worst I had run in all the laps I had run here. But I finished and knocked off 44 minutes off last years time. I attribute that mostly due to the conditions. 8:45:59

18th out of 86 starters.

The next event again two weeks later was not really an event at all, but our annual night run to Orillia and back. This year there were more runners and potentially a few other runners to go the whole distance instead of just me. Several groups were going out at different times. Brenda and Lee Anne were leaving before 5:30 and only going to Orillia, Joan, Angela and Battman were leaving at 6:15ish and again only go to Orillia. At 7:45 pm Myself, Brendan, Bill, Erin and Alan would leave the South Shore Centre on the south side of the bay to head off to Orillia on a nice night. We seem to have been blesses with good whether for this event in the past 2 years that we have run it, would this night hold out too? Somewhere between our group and Joan's group Steen and also started off with Kelly in support on her bike.
This year we would be missing Roger for the first time as he had a wedding to go to. We ran in his honour!!!
Off we went and soon Brendan found the pace to slow and off he would go before coming back to meet up with us. Eventually we would lose him all together. Marie was running support for us, which would be a blessing too! Marie would take pictures and stop at cross roads to make sure all was ok. The rail trail can be very boring, but at night it is not so. Especially when it gets dark. By the time the darkness got to us Alan was lag gin behind and at about 25k he called it a day, it was very humid and he was suffering a bit. He jumped in with Marie and Bren who had also decided 25k was enough for him. BY this time Tracy had also joined the support group. Everyone seems to have their own aches and pains that we all discussed at length and felt sorry for act other. I'm not sure this helped or not. But coming towards Orillia we cam across Ricky Mac riding his bike also in support. He had rode with Battman and Joan to Orillia to help out Joan who was struggling a bit. We got to Orillia just before midnight, so right on schedule, and left right on time too. Only four runners remained at this point, Myself, Bill, Erin and Bryan who joined us for the ride back. Turning around is always the hardest part. I know I was having a hard time motivating myself. Erin was talking about only going to the next aid stop at the 15th line. Once we got there she realized that she was at 48k and figured she had to at least get in 50. Our support on the way back was both Joan and Jim T. Joan was rather tired after running out to Orillia. What a trooper!
My right lower leg was bothering me and I was wondering whether this was to be the year that I didn't finish. At the 15th though, Bill let try some Traumeel Cream to put on my leg. By the time we were a k down the road I had no pain anymore and was running great again. woohoo, that stuff is awesome. Soon we were chatting to Erin about the history of the run an that I was the only one who had ever done it both ways. What? She asked, "you mean if I finish I would be the first woman to do it?" Her eyes lit up and she decided she couldn't quit now. So off the four of went in the pitch black darkness, only lit up by our head lamps. At about 1 am it started to rain lightly, but it felt good. At times we were running a little slower than a 5 minute kilometre. Hard to believe. As we reached Barrie the heavens opened up and we were getting soaked.
We ran most of the rest of the run in the rain and as we finished just as we thought we could get changed the heavy rains started again. A quick photo op and then into the vehicles to head home. We finished in just under 9 hours for 76k. A great night again. Finishing the entire distance were Bill, Erin and myself.

Since finishing the Night Run Orillia and back I have been on easy street when it comes to running. Not doing much at all. Taper to the nth degree. Ran a couple of times but not much intensity or distance. I spent last weekend volunteering for the Barrie Half and had a great time. This week a quick trail run on Tuesday and short road run on Wednesday as I prepare for Niagara and the 100k. Yes, this weekend is the Niagara and I was talked into, although it didn't much talking, the 100k. Still its good training for Vermont which is only 4 weeks away now. The hardest part, I think would be the 100k on asphalt. That will be hard on the feet I think. Still I look at all the difficulties of this race as good prep for Vermont.

Friday, April 20, 2012

One Week to PYP.

This is the time of year that the long runs start getting really long, and time on feet becomes the main goal. That takes a lot to get through mentally and one of the tools I’ve been using to manage it is listening to podcasts. There are two that particularly like. and Dirt Dawg’s Running Diatribe. I favour the first as it is geared more towards ultrarunning, especially 100 milers. The creater of 100mile… is very experienced at 100 milers doing the grand slam a few years ago. Last year while listening to one of his podcasts I found that he was creating a new grand slam series, the Mid West Grand Slam. This series consists of the Kettle Moraine 100, The Mohican 100, Burning River 100 and the Hallucination 100 all done within one calendar year. I am thinking that this might be a legitimate goal for next year. I really enjoyed Burning River last year and would love to go back, I may even go down again this year and volunteer.

In the mean time I have been getting out a lot on the trails lately and enjoying it immensely. Mostly on the Pick Your Poison course at Horseshoe. I forgot how tough it can be, especially when you’re not used to running on the trails. But after a couple of weeks I’m feeling better about it. Last weekend I went out to the Ontario Ultra Series Warm Up event in the small village of Dunedin, Ontario that is, not Florida. I went there with Bill Lovett with a goal to complete three loops for 39k. It is a tough loop with not much but hills and where it is flat it’s trails which are never “flat”. At least this year the trails were snow free and provided for some good running. But if you think the up hills are bad the final 2.5k are all down hill and it is a rather steep gravel road which has been newly grated. Three times down that sucker and you know it.
The next day I met Bill and a few others at Horseshoe for another couple of loops around the PYP course. It was a little difficult at first. The stiff legs taking a while to get going, but soon enough we were running good, by the second loop we were pushing it hard. At least a lot harder than I was expecting to run..
Monday morning came and I was feeling like I’d run a hard marathon. I haven’t felt that way in a long while. It felt somewhat good!!!

This week I have decided to take it easy and use it as a rest week. I ran Tuesday and Thursday on trails at Simcoe County forest and wore my vibrams on Thursday that went good and I think I will use them on all the Tuesday and Thursday runs. Wednesday was the usual Running Room run with the guys and we ran up Ferndale hill by the dump. It is an intimidating hill, but I always run it good.
This weekend I will do maybe only a light run. Time for some rest and relaxation instead. I think my body could use it. The next few months see lots of racing coming up. From next Saturday to the middle of June sees me running an event, organized or not, every two weeks. Included in this is the 3rd annual Night Run to Orillia and back. An "event" that we started for my training for Burning River. It has taken a life of its own now and we have probably a dozen or more interested parties in doing at least part of the run or supporting the run. For those who don't know, we start at the lakeshore in Barrie at about 8pm and run the rail trail to the Home Hardware in Orillia. We usuall y arrive around midnight, refuel and turn around for the run back getting back to Barrie at about 4:30 am or so. Up to now I am the only one who has completed the full distance, but I have had a few who have said they may attempt it this year. I usually have a good group for the first half and one or two for the return trip. Looking forward to it and hope the weather is as good as it has been in the past two years.

So no rest for the wicked.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Its time for another instalment in my not so frequent posts about my running, my training and generally how things are going. So how are things going? Very well, I say tentatively. I say it tentatively because I always think that maybe something will go wrong just around the corner. I shouldn't think that way, but when you've been through all the aches and pains I've been through over the past couple of years...
Things have been going well though. The mileage has been up and down, but I'm still ahead of last year at this point with nothing negative to complain about. The weather has been cooperating for the most part. Early spring has given way to a late cold spell, but there is no snow on the ground so the trails are open and all is good.
Yes trails! the trails have been wide open for a few weeks or more and I was finally able to get out on them and it felt so good to be running on dirt instead of pavement or cement. Two weeks ago I drove to Ancaster to do a loop of the Sulphur Springs course. I had been thinking of doing more, but I had been out there for a while showing a slower group the trail, and just as well as most of them had no idea where they were going. At the end of the loop I ran the hill hard and felt good doing it. The rain had started to come down hard and I decided enough was enough and that was good for the day. The trails there were in great shape, mostly dry with only a few muddy sections in the second half. Easy compared with last years quagmire. Not that I'm complaining.
Also got out on the Pick Your Poison course last Sunday for a good run. Did 2 loops there for about 24k. again the trails are in amazing shape. FIrst time I've used my Garmin to follow a trail. Yes, I downloaded the course off the internet and loaded it on the Garmin and set it up. It wasn't easy to see the map on the screen with my old guy eyesight, but it worked and would tell me when I got off course, which we did a few times on the first loop. A good turnout for the run on a gorgeous day.
On Good Friday I ran with Rick and Oliver as we did the rail trail out and back for 36k. Another good run with JVH offering support along the way.
I picked up a pair of Sketchers Gorun shoes last weekend too. They felt so good and light and I finally got to run in them last night. A different feel for sure, they promote a mid foot strike and I could feel the difference. When I was done I could feel the muscle fatigue in places where I usually don't. Overall I was impressed. It will be interesting to see how many miles I can get on them and how far I can run on them for my long runs.
I was checking up on the races I have signed up for and the ones I am thinking of signing up for and it is quite the schedule. 9 Races of at least marathon distance and 5 more I am thinking about. THere maybe more too. THis morning I signed up for the Monster Mash Marathon in Dover, Delaware and the Atlantic City Marathon. Back to back marathons in October. I haven't done a marathon since October of 2010, but got talked into it by Rickymac. It didn't take a lot of arm twisting.

Next up is Pick Your Poison on the 28th of this month. A good course except for the fact that it is 4 loops to make 50k. I hate multiple loop courses, but it is close and there will be lots of others there that I know doing it.

Before PYP though is the Ontario Ultra Series warm up event. I did this last year and had a lot of fun on a very hilly course.

Hope to refresh this blog again sooner than later, so until then...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Green Jewel 50k Race report

I did the Green Jewel 50k race last year and felt it was a great way to get the racing season kick started. I t meant training started early in the year, but got me better prepared for the long distances I would run later in the spring/summer getting ready for Burning River. By all accounts it was a good move as Burning River was a great race as I did very well. So I thought what better way to get the 2012 season started than to sign up and train for the Green Jewel again. Another factor was that the race is an incredibly well organized, low key event that brings some great individuals from the north east Ohio running community together. I have got to know a few of them over the past year and its one of the things that keeps me coming back for races in this part of the world.
This year I would drive the six hours to Cleveland with Chris Battaglia, who I talked into signing up as Theo was still recovering from his injuries and was far from ready to race this distance. We left Friday morning and made to the Cleveland metro area by about 3 pm and hit the hotel to check in. There's no "expo" for this race, bib pick up etc is in the morning at the finish area, prior to getting on the bus to go to the start. Once we were settled in we went out to check out one of the local running store, the Vertical Runner. as it turned out they had what I had been very keen to search out, the new Garmin 910XT. I couldn't resist and picked it up. A good pasta dinner at the Olive Garden and an early night preceded the 4 am wake up.
Off to the race finish area to catch the bus, but a wrinkle in the plans. We pulled onto the road into the park area and then red lights in front of us! Whats going on? We weren't any where near the pick up area. Chris walked down the line of cars to find out what was going on. He came back with our bibs and it turned out we were waiting for the Park Ranger to open up the gates, which were closed due to the Salamander migration season. But the ranger showed up just prior to 6am and we were let in to get on the buses. The race would start about 25 minutes late due to the delay.
Last year there was only one bus, this year two and off we went to Rocky River and the start area. We didn't have to wait long to get the race started, which was nice as it was quite cool and very breezy. Prior to the start I got to talk to Bob King who I met at the Burning River training runs last year. Bob wasn't running, but volunteering which is very admirable. He was actually the aid Station captain at mile 15. Also met Pam Rickard who I had befriended on Facebook, a great bubbly personality.

I set my new Garmin up and off we went at about 7:23am. The majority of the first part of the course is run on bike paths through the Cleveland Metro Park system. The first part seems to be quite flat, while actually it is slowly rising. I quickly hooked up with Zack Johnson and we ran together form that point on till about 27k. We got chatting and didn't pay attention to our pace, which was a little too fast for our own good, but at the same time it may have helped our positive finishes.

We went through the 15 mile mark in about 2 hours and 5 minutes and half way about 3 minutes later. It was at about this point that I was feeling the pace as my glutes were starting to tell me to back off. So at about 27k I told Zack go on with out me as I needed to back off. I took a few walk breaks and had quite a number of runners pass me. I was starting to take walk break every 2k or so. At the 19 mile aid station there was a smorgasbord of food, including steak, potatoes, and much more. At this point trying to digest steak would be impossible for me. I had a small cup of potato soup and was back off running again. After a couple more k I realized that I was gaining on Zack again. I caught him and it turns out he was hurting. His core was in pain from too much core work the day before. I left him behind but Zack would catch me on my walk breaks. At 38k we hit the first big hill

and a long walk up it ensued, a quick stop at the aid station at the top (the last aid) and we were off running again. Gradually I left Zack behind as I found I was able to push the pace a bit more, still walking most of the hills. I didn't remember all those hills from last year. In the latter parts of the race I was calculating what my possible finish times may be and figuring that a 4:35 finish was not out of the question. I had figured before hand that I would be happy with beating last years 4:48 time, very happy with a 4:45. A best case scenario would be 4:30. So I was doing well.
The last few kilometres were down hill, and although painful on the very sore quads, I pushed it and came into the finish at 4:31. I was very happy about that.

Zack came in shortly after me in a time of 4:35 for a new PR. Pam finished in 4:44 for a PR of an hour, incredible!! Chris finished in 5:50 looking really strong finishing.

Again a great race on a challenging course with great race volunteers and the best race director! I'm sure I will be back again next year as well as showing up to many more races in Ohio over the next few years.