Saturday, October 20, 2012

I'm not dead yet!

Okay, I've been lazy and took some time away from blogging, for several reasons.  The season for me is winding down, I've applied copious quantities of "free time" to various projects, and I actually paid some money to obtain what is called VIP status in a car racing game I enjoy.  The latter is a bit disappointing, as there are less VIP'ers to race against, hence less excitement.

Before I get to the projects, at the bottom of this post is the Run for the Toad race report I posted on Running Mania, with some reflection items kicked in pour gratis.  So, what has kept me occupied since September 8?  Let me explain the darker side of how I normally spend my "down time".  For those who share the running passion, I need not explain the time needed to ramp up from surgery (or some fairly major injury) once we get the go-ahead to start training seriously.

I am a lumberjack.  Technically, I was a lumberjack.  In my 20's, I spent a couple of years as a skidder operator, then a cutter.  A cutter is what is romantically referred to as a lumberjack, replete with suspenders, panties and a bra.  For those not familiar with Monty Python, please do your research (the lumberjack song).  One component of my down-time is to supply firewood to friends and family.  They pay for this service and expect quality product delivered in a timely manner.  This year, I helped Lee Anne with her inaugural Creemore Copper Kettle Dash, a 5K and 10K race held in late August, aligned with Creemore Spring's Copper Kettle Festival.  Then we went on vacation.  When we got back, I realized I normally spend a week in early September hauling and delivering wood (it is cut in the Spring to dry).  I was late, but had to delivery about 10 bushcord of wood, driving a tractor with no cab, in 5 degree weather, in the rain.  What fun!

Then I clad the house in pine (board and batten style) and painted it (the house.  Yes, the whole house!).  Here is a picture before the painting.  I don't have painted pictures yet as it will not stop raining long enough for me to finish!  And they think I control the weather?  I wish!

The remaining trim will be painted tomorrow.

Here's a file picture of the wood before delivery:

Running?  Oh yeah!  Central to the blog...  I remember!  Surgery was July 17, running started in September, first race was (below) the Toad, which went better than expected.  At 54, running 25K trail in 2:41 is not too shabby.  I'm a long way behind an AC podium finish, but not the last in my AC to cross the finish line. I am not getting out for a run as often as I would like, but enough to consider what I am doing part of a painfully slow ramp-up.  Today, I got in 18K, with a hill.  Some of you might know the hill.  I call it O2 and it is part of the Creemore Vertical Challenge.  For those who have blocked it from their memory, let me remind you that it is 800 meters long and starts after an uphill section.  I have heard it described as nasty.  I have heard other descriptors, but will not repeat them here, as they were uttered by runners who were not having a good day.  This includes almost everyone who has run the CVC 50K.  Having only run 7K before O2, I was relatively fresh and tried to run the entire hill.  I made it to within 50 meters of the top of the steep section (the scrabble) but could not find enough oxygen to keep running.  I walked the 50 meters, but ran the remaining "grassy" hill.  I'm quite proud of that!

Sidebar:  I believe it was Dave Champion who claimed to have been worried about dying on his second ascent of O2, during the 2008 50K CVC.  He was walking up the hill, but was quite dizzy from the heat and was worried that he would fall backwards, hit his head on a rock and expire.  After today's ascent, I now understand how he felt!

Creemore 100 Miler is back!

To provide Scott Garrett, who is running a 100 miler every month this year, with a local venue for his last race of the year, the Creemore 100 Mile Challenge is back on, for 2012!  Jodi Langely has taken on the role of race director and Lee Anne and I are again hosting the race.  There will be a 2.6K spur, then 15 loops of a 10.6K course comprised of 60% road (paved and gravel) and trail.  The course is mainly downhill, with 3 smallish hills (yes Kinga, small for north of Hwy 89) and one optical illusionary uphill.  Sign-up already includes some big names from Ontario, although defending champions Ken Moon is injured and I don't believe Monica Scholtz will be making an appearance.

I would really like to start a rumour that Yiannis Kouros is competing, but it would be an outright fabrication.  he has already run a race in Canada this year...  The race is capped at 30 and there are already 25 signed up at Ultrasignup:

Run for the Toad

What an incredible race.  Some consider the course easy, but try following the young man who won the 50K this year and tell me it is easy!  He screamed the 12.5K loop 4 times, each in 50 minutes and change.  Wow!  I find the rollers wear me down in the 25K, let alone pushing hard for 4 loops.  Thanks so much to Peggy and George for all your efforts, for helping the Canadian ultra team and (2013 and 2014) hosting the Canadian 50K championships.  Simply a class act!

From the RR on Running Mania:

Leading up to my first race after knee surgery (torn cartilage), I was somewhat anxious, to say the least. Running had been fine since I started in early September (a few trial runs in August barely count), but I was not looking forward to toeing the line at such a large race, with a distinct possibility of having it end in a DNF...

For those who made it to the Toad, isn't it incredible how much of a show George and Peggy put on? Curly (Lee Anne) and I helped out on Friday by handing out about 600 duffel bags. We chatted with a million people, including Ryan Melcher, an incredible runner, who paced Ellie Greenwood this year at her Western 100M victory.

Race day dawned with about the best weather I have witnessed at the Toad. I asked Peggy to cancel the race as there was no freezing cold rain... Shorts and a T-shirt were all that was needed. The plan was to start conservatively, then slow down. I kept to plan for the first loop, clocking a 1:20 for the first 12.5K. I started the second loop slowly, although when the 50K leader (some young guy!) flew by me at the start of his 3rd loop, I thought that I was standing still! About halfway through loop 2, a funny thing happened. I didn't slow down and I didn't feel tired! I even started to catch a few people. In the distance, I say Joanne Barber (Doug and Joanne are good friends). What? I'm keeping up with Joanne? By the way, Joanne usually race-walks the Toad. In fact, she has won the race-walk outright, in times such as 3:00, for the 25K!

For the last 3K, I did something that was paraphrased in a Mr. Boffo comic. The picture is of a passenger flying a 747. The caption at the bottom reads: "The last thing airport control wants to hear, after a passenger has taken over control of a 747". The bubble states "Let's see what this baby can do!".

I figured there was little chance of a DNF at 22K, so, let's see what these knees can do! I would not call my pace "fast", but I dipped below a 6 minute K. I ran most of the little risers and tried to keep my breathing near max VO2. The second loop was also done in 1:20, for a finish time of 2:41 (2:40 chip time).

Very satisfied with my race and my finishing time. The hope is now that I can train up to a 50K next year.

See you at the Toad in 2013!