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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.

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