Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Running: You Should Try it!

4 weeks to the day of my knee surgery, I went for a run.  Those of you who have run long (half, marathon, ultra) know it is important to have more than 1 goal.  It can be crazy, mind bending goals, such as Ron Irwin, in the recent Dirty Girls 48 hour race:  100 miles, 200K, 200K+.  What allowed Ron to set such lofty goals was a near-debilitating training program, coupled with an intense love of running.  Yes, running can be boring and seemingly pointless, but if you can find 2 or 3 good things about every training run, the race is in the bag.  Training for a 50K typically involves logging 1,000K.  Unless you want to do well in the 50K race, in which case you need to up the training distance...

4 weeks after knee surgery, the "goals" seem almost pathetic, especially for someone who has run fairly long races.  It is good to keep in mind that those just starting to run would love to reach a goal as modest as what I set for myself.  Yesterday (Tuesday, August 14) was my first real run.  I had run/walked a couple of times in the last week and I have been attending physio, but I now wanted to give the knee a modest test:  Run 2K, then asses if I could complete 7.5K of the Creemore Vertical Challenge.  I was told to run on the road by several people, but my reason for running trail was twofold:  1.  Running pavement would be high impact on my recovering knee and 2.  I have trouble running slowly along a road.  This run HAD to be at a slow pace.

I reached 2K without any knee pain and although the pace was slow, surprisingly little issues with my current lack of conditioning.  After a bathroom break, I decided to press on.  My mantra was "keep it slow, keep it easy" as I ran the first 6K of the CVC course, followed by the last 1.5K of the course (up and down the cliffs).  I would be lying if I claimed there was no knee pain, but aside from a couple of twinges, smooth sailing!

My 7.5K probably took about 50 minutes, but I could not be happier.  I awoke with almost no stiffness this morning, although the knee and legs were stiff this afternoon.  I did not run today (chopped wood) and have physio tomorrow, so I might try a short run (4K) after physio, to see if the knee can start handling some training.  I've signed up for 25K at the Toad, which is my optimistic goal.

Dirty Girls:  View from a Volunteer

I ran for 25 years before volunteering at a race.  It just never dawned on me that helping out at a race could be anything but tedium.  Eventually, Lee Anne (my wife) started running such long races, that I helped out to avoid the boredom of waiting around for hours, for her to finish her 1,000,000K race...

I sometimes exaggerate.

Guess what?  Volunteering can be as much fun as running the race.  For those recovering from an injury (hi Kinga) it can also be painful to see your friends and race peers tearing up the trail while you hock water, HEED and boiled potatoes.

This year, Diane and Henri (race directors) decided that it would be fun, fun, fun to hold a 48 hour event, along with the 30K (32K this year), and 6, 12 and 24 hour options.  Let me try to clarify what this means, from an organizational perspective:  Little to no sleep from 2 days before the event, until the entire race site is cleaned up and everything shipped out.  For a 48 hour race, this stretches to about 5 days.  Yeehaa!  And the details!  Food, timing schedules, weigh-in for the 48 hour runners, supply logistics and answering a never-ending stream of questions from the racers and volunteers.

Volunteering has its pressures, but nothing a nice glass of red wine won't fix.  Yes, I smugly sip my wine while cheering on the runners.  If they had volunteered instead of running 232K, they could be beside me, expounding on the merits of an Australian Shiraz...

Seriously?  Helping out at a race is amazing.  I'm not just saying this to drum up some vollies for next year's Creemore Vertical Challenge.  After a while, you get to sense what a runner, in considerable physical stress, needs to make it out there, to the next aid station.  It can be as simple (to you) as coke with ice, but to the runner, it has kept the DNF hounds at bay, for a few more precious minutes.

So definitely plan to run more races, but also consider the benefits of volunteering.  Entry to some races requires volunteering.  Many elite runners pace or vollie at a race they intend to enter the next year, to become acquainted with the venue.

Did I mention we are seeking volunteers for the Creemore Copper Kettle Festival, on August 25?  Did I also mention that Creemore Springs is providing beer tickets to the volunteers, for the Copper Kettle Festival, later the same day?  2 hours work, for a free beer and some fine music...

If you can help out, please contact Lee Anne at 705.466.3253 or email


1 comment:

  1. Sounds like good Knee news Pierre, keep it up.

    I will at some point volunteer at these races. I must admit that I do owe a ton of payback for all the races that I have run. For some reason I can’t stop running these things …guess I am not ready for the sidelines quite yet. Anyhow my day will come and I am sure I too will be sipping on a glass of Red Wine whilst my running friends slip by. Now DG from a 48 hour participants prospective … regards to the volunteers, well let’s just say I know that I wouldn’t have a buckle if it weren’t for the support and encouragement that everyone provided. It truly was an over the top production.