Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Kiln Woes

Okay, sometimes things don't go according to plan.  Like life, training and sex...

Today, I'm going to talk about life.  I organize a race called the Creemore Vertical Challenge.  It is very rewarding, but includes an element of tension.  Every year I ask myself if I can I afford the cost to put it on.  Like everyone else, I struggle a bit to meet expenses.  This time of year, I suddenly have to "find" about $8000 to pay for up-front costs.  If you are not rigidly financially structured, being race director might be a bad idea.  Most races are fronted by a racing organization, for good reason.

By the way, I included "sex" for humour.  I am not complaining and I fervently hope neither is Lee Anne.  Okay, let's glaze over that component.  Much too difficult to tackle in a running blog!

The CVC evolves around some simple precepts.  Maple syrup:  We have 60 acres of hardwood bush and I am a bear for punishment.  Make an extra 40 litres for prizes and land owners.  Simple!  Lee Anne was a potter before becoming and retiring from the profession of teaching.  Cool!  For prizes and bribes to the land owners, we produce maple syrup and pottery.  I buy coffee to round out the 40 prizes.

This is going to hurt:  On Sunday, I started the kiln with a significant load of coffee mugs (second and third place prizes) and some bowls (first place).  The kiln sitter (controls when the electrical elements are turned off at the end of firing) malfunctioned, resulting in too high a temperature for the pottery.  The pottery over fired (read melted) and so did the kiln.  We need a new kiln!

Maple syrup season was abysmal.  There is scarcely enough syrup to make up the prizes.  I was counting on supplementing the syrup with extra pottery to fill the prizes.  I now need to spend $2500 to buy a new kiln.  Not sure what I can give as "thank you" gifts (bribes) to the land owners.

Oh, and the Honda lawn mower broke (wheel fell off, including part of the steel deck) after cutting 1.2 acres of grass every week for 15 years.  I'm hesitant to replace it with anything other than a Honda.  Since I work at Honda, it does make sense...  I priced the steel deck:  $298.  A brand new machine?  (I get a discount) $309.  Although saving $11 has merit, I think getting a new lawn mower is the correct move.

So, with a lack of maple syrup and finished pottery in question, It might make for a lean race.  I just hope AC winners are empathetic and understanding, and don't carry firearms...

Lee Anne started a running clinic for her Creemore Copper Kettle Dash, a race that will take place the same day as Creemore Springs Brewery's Copper Kettle Festival, on August 25.  Should be a fun time!  Last night we ran with 2 people that hope to take up the incredible sport of running.  I don't drink beer (I do drink wine and when experiencing kiln trauma (a medical condition) black russians...) but I can't think of anything more appealing to a runner than to race 5 or 10K, then relax with a Creemore Springs beer and listen to music.  If you have never experienced the Copper Kettle Festival, you should soon!

So, this week's balance is more trials and tribulations, than smooth sailing.  But we are runners and what runner looks forward to smooth, safe and boring?  We prefer action!  Even if it involves knee-deep pain and suffering!

Time to train up to Sulphur 25K for me and the 50M for Lee Anne.

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