STRAVA Summary

Friday, January 25, 2013

The New Year and what is to Come

It’s a new year and time to start planning this year’s racing schedule etc.. Two years ago I was listening to a few podcasts while doing all my long runs in preparation for Burning River and one in particular was the 100 Mile Ultrarunning podcast. I found the podcaster’s (is that a word?) commentary very relevant and found that I was looking forward to each and every one, but they were not aired that often. One topic that Dale (the podcaster) touched upon was about creating a new series similar to the Grand Slam of Ultrarunning, but something that was logistically more manageable for the average Ultra runner. Especially those of us that live on the east side of the continent. Getting into the Grand Slam is difficult if not for just the challenge of getting selected in Western States lottery, which I missed out on again this year. Then there is the cost and time involved in getting to and racing 3 western based races.
So Dale came up with the idea of a Midwest Grand Slam, approached four race directors, who were all over it, and got it together for an inaugural series in 2012. As I was listening I thought that it would be a great series to do and contemplated it for 2012. My problem was that, at that point I had only completed one 100 miler and was a little unsure of whether it would be a good choice to attempt four in one year with my lack of experience. As it turned out it was a good choice as my experience at Vermont last year taught me a lot, and if I had attempted the Midwest Grand Slam instead I may have faltered at the first hurdle.
So with my failure at VT100 behind me and completing 100 miles at NC24 as well a great run at the Creemore 100 I think I was deemed ready for the challenge. So one of the first things I have done this year is to sign up for all four races and send in my registration for the Slam.
The races are:

Kettle Moraine 100 in Wisconsin on June 1st
Mohican 100 in Ohio on June 15th
Burning River in Ohio on July 27th
Hallucination 100 in Michigan on September 6th

I am now committed to do this and one factor that is motivating more than any is the fact that if I complete the Slam I would be the first Canadian to do so!

Part of the buildup to the first race will my annual trek to Cleveland to do the Green Jewel 50k in March and then April I will again go to Ohio to compete in the O24 24 hour race. So the training has been well under way, double long runs with Oliver and Rick on most weekends. Oliver is doing the Green Jewel as well and both will hopefully be crewing/pacing for me through some of the races, along with Joan of course.

Another part of the training that cropped up recently was that I have tried Crossfit the past two weeks. I have tried to get into a training regime that worked on strength and core work, without the required results. Mostly due to my inability to keep the work up. I have found that at Crossfit it is only about getting there. The instructor drives you through a tough 1 hour work out that varies daily. I am not fanatical about it like some, but I can see how this can really help me. I will do this to mid-February when I have to start to taper for Green Jewel and another month afterwards prior to O24. After that we will see, as there will be a lot more running to do then.

Another running trip popped up by chance when I didn’t get into WS100. One of the people we camped next to at VT100 last year did get in. Gary Bennington from Montreal was successful and congratulated him via Facebook, I also let him know how lucky he was!!!Not long after his girlfriend Kate got in touch with Joan to ask if I’d be interested in Pacing and both of crewing for Gary. Woohoo! We obviously said we would do all we could to make sure we could get there and help out. Other than having the opportunity to run it this is the next best thing and the experience will be invaluable for when I get in next year!!!!! Let’s hope.
WS100 will still be a logistical challenge. We will be there, but We go to Virginia Beach the first week of July so we will go to WS100 and then drive to VB from Buffalo Airport when coming home. Another possible issue is the Midwest Grand Slam. I will have done KM 100 on June 1st, Mohican two weeks late and then in another two weeks be pacing Gary. I don’t see this being a problem for pacing Gary at WS100, so hopefully everything goes well.

It’s going to be a busy year. Luckily I get another 5 vacation days this year too. And when Joan gets back into running condition there maybe a couple of other running trips for her races too. The first one is already planned with Joan’s benchmark race the Harry Rosen 8k in Toronto in April. Looking forward to many more and a busy year.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Creemore Fat Ass 100 Miler

I have been busy with races this fall, whether it be running them or supporting others and with most them in the US, it was nice to finish the racing season with a home grown event. On December 1st I took part in the Creemore Fat Ass 100 mile run. This was put on for Scott Garret as his last (12th) 100 miler of the year, put on by the ultrarunning community, by his friends.
I was more than a little apprehensive about running as 100 miler in this part of the world in December. Who knows what the weather would be like. In the weeks before it was all over the place and we had a bit of snow in the week prior to, but as the weekend approached the temperatures looked like they would be pretty good. On Saturday morning it was cool (below 0C) and breezy, the forecast was for the temperature to increase as the day progressed and through the night with rain coming over night.
There were 27 of us to toe the line at the start and at 7 am we were off. The wind was rather bitter as we ran out the drive way from Pierre and Leanne’s place. We ran out on the main road towards Airport Road for a few hundred meters to get in the extra distance before turning around and heading out on the course proper. The course consisted of running the road into Creemore, through town to Collingwood St and then south up the hills. Eventually we would turn into a farm and through the fields and trails of the Creemore Vertical Challenge course. Through a ravine and up the other side to the midpoint aid station which is where Joan was stationed. From here we would run the roads back to Airport Road and then after 100 metres or so head back into the trails back to the start finish area. A total of 10.6k that we had to repeat 15 times.
After a few laps I got into a groove where I would walk about 100 metres through town and walk most of the uphills, I would also walk the stretch on Airport Rd. This seemed to work well. The weather though was not cooperating very well. With the wind the temperature never seemed to warm up at all, and of course the more you ran the more tired you felt and therefore the colder you felt. I never felt cold, but I never felt warm either.
I found that the aid stations didn’t have a lot of food that I was interested in early on so I was taking a gel every hour and also trying to take my S caps too, although I wasn’t really sweating a lot. Joan had made up some Ionix/Energenix mix for me to drink after every lap. A good recovery drink to flush the system of lactic acids, etc.
The first few laps were:

1:15, 1:17, 1:14, 1:18, 1:27.

I was feeling pretty good and part way through the day Shawn Patton and Crystal Fetcher joined me to pace for a lap. So I got to talk to Crystal about her first book being published and what it was about etc.

The first part of the course was pancake flat until you leave Creemore and head across the bridge up Collingwood St. It’s a good climb from there and then a sharpe downhill before another climb. Cresting that hill doesn’t end the climb though as you have to continue for another kilometer to the entrance to the farmers field and a nice downhill to the trails. The trails although snow covered were very runnable, a little slippery in places, especially the downhills in the ravine. The uphill out of the ravine was steep and another walking section to the aid station. The southerly wind would howl through the aid station and all along the road it was a head wind to the next turn. The road to Airport Rd was all downhill for about 2k and I was hitting 4:30k’s along this stretch for most of the day and into the night. The last trail section was quite long, but fairly flat, but nothing but single track.

Next few loops were:

1:20, 1:24, 1:37, 1:36, 1:40

As you can see the pace slowed somewhat, but after ten loops I was feeling a little fatigued, but knowing that I was counting down single digits for laps to finish. Just after 9pm arriving at the midpoint aid station I had Bryan Pellerin join me to pace for a few laps, this helped a lot as I was struggling at this point, but he got me running when I didn’t want to. I would still spend more time running than walking at times, but I was still moving forward.
Half through Bryan’s 3rd lap with me, Helleina Rothenburg joined me for a couple of laps. Helleina is great to run with because she likes to talk. Which keeps you awake. We hadn’t seen each other in a while so we had lots to chat about. I did a lot of walking on these laps and Helleina would try to keep me running, mostly unsuccessfully. Helleina left me with only 2 laps to go, it was raining and had been since about 1 am and although the temperature had gone up, it didn’t feel like it, because the wind was still blowing. I headed out for the final two loops with thought that my head light might not make it through the loop. I had extra batteries, but was not hopeful about being able to replace them out on the course. I got the first set of trails and the mud was getting very difficult to maneuver through, slipping and sliding everywhere. I was surprised not to go down at all. The last section of trails were even worse. But I got to the start/finish area and had Pierre change my batteries. Off I went for the last lap I figured I had 3 hours to beat 24 hours and decided I could walk the entire loop and still have time to spare, so that’s what I did. I kept my light off through town to conserve the batteries. Just as well as into the trails they were fading again and I was almost on hands and knees looking for the trail in the mud. It was very difficult going. At the aid station Joan had some relief and would head off to the finish to see me there when I was done. She had been at the aid station for the entire 23 hours!! Wow, what a trooper. She is amazing.
On the walk down the big hill I passed two runners, running, I was walking! One of them was Chris Battaglia who was in some serious pain and a hurting unit.

I finished in 23hours and 1 minute a new PB for a hundred miler.

The last 5 laps were:

1:45, 1:55, 1:43, 1:31, 1:57

Over all I felt quite pleased about my performance. A good run, took it easy when I needed too and got through the tough parts. Some great support on a tough day weather wise. This has definitely got my confidence back up for my next great adventure. Thanks Joannie!