Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2012 in Review

I'm at an age where many of my friends are approaching retirement.  For those of you who like to nail down details, the group spans 35 to 58.225 years of age.  The last sentence is a bit nasty, especially to those who are 36 years old and consider themselves to be one or two geological periods away from retirement.  What those of you in your late thirties / early forties don't appreciate is that you will wake up one morning and shout "Holy snapping left bananas captain, he was right!"  It totalling, insidiously sneaks up on you.

If the planets align according to Pierre (please don't let 2008 happen ever, ever again) I am in my last FULL year of work.  That's correct, retirement is pegged for mid-2014.  The light at the end of the tunnel is turning out not to be a train...

What do I want to do in retirement?  Those of you who know me, or believe the impossible rumours about me (not the one about a waiting list at Honda of people that want to kill me - that one is true) understand that I have plans to expand the maple syrup production, run more races, make more pottery (with my dear wife Lee Anne of course), chop more trees, wear more high heels, enhance the Creemore races and build a house using trees from the bush.  What I hope to do in my spare time is turn my hand back to writing.

Before life got busier than a bear at the dump, I used to write short stories.  I attempted to instill some humour, so I certainly did not bother to let reality or practicality spoil the story.  I would like to use the same technique to describe the events of 2012...  Consider that a warning!

The year of 2012 actually started in 2011, when Creemore and the Town of Blue Mountain (where we have a sugar bush) received 170.2166 feet of snow during the latter part of November and most of December.  Although deep,  the snow did little to mar the trail running.  I considered it practice in hyperventilating.  Since the area had joined the polar cap, the lakes froze early, resulting in less precipitation in late January and February.  This, in turn, resulted in sunny days, which generate unseasonably warm weather in March.  Great for running, not so good for making maple syrup.

For those of you who have seen the old movie "It's a Wild Wild Wild World", recall the drunk, who explains that he cannot stop smoking, because "the smoke bone is connected to the booze bone".  I would enjoy paraphrasing his analogy.  For those of you who are wondering how the hell this ties in to reminiscing about 2012, please be patient.  There is a 42.2% chance that it is meaningful.  Maple syrup is a cash crop.  What this means is that if you have a lot of cash, and don't mind spending 485 hours per year fixing sap lines, chopping wood (the list is truly endless) etc. then you can make enough syrup to pay for half your bills!  Unfortunately, I am only referring to your maple syrup bills...  So I spend about $1000 per year to make enough syrup for myself (24 litres), friends and family (36 litres), the CVC race (52 litres) and to sell.  In a good year, I have made 156 litre, which if my math is correct, means I sell 44 litres.  At $20 per litre (I've rounded up), I almost pay for my expenses!

In 2012, I made 37 litres of maple syrup.

Please don't interrupt my sobbing...

Priority was given to the race and with some creative replacements (Lee Anne made pottery for the land owners) I was able to provide almost the full complement of race prizes offered in prior years.  Tricky part #1:  The maple syrup sales is used as seed money to finance the CVC race.  I also pull money from savings, but in 2012, the amount withdrawn was rather hefty.  The profit from CVC goes to the national ultra team (ACU), St. John's Ambulance and I sometimes (race director's discretion) direct a small percentage somewhere else.  In the fifth year (2011), 10% went to returning the entry fee for the past 5 years to the top male 25K runner (Mike Tickner) and the top female 50K runner (Laurie McGrath).

Most of the proceeds go to paying for the race, which I have already "invested".  Tricky part #2:  This money is normally used for a vacation, but in 2012, it went to finance a new race, the Creemore Copper Kettle Dash (Lee Anne is race director).  And so it evaporated...

Makes you want to start a syrup operation and race of your own, eh?  Yeehaw!  Pass me that $120,000 seed money baby!

If you think the abysmal syrup season and watching funds drain away into races was tough, I haven't yet told you about my racing season, have I?

Racing season:

Creemore Snow Run:  Injured (unsure what)
Spring Warm-up:  Injured (suspected torn cartilage)
Pick Your Poison:  Injured (diagnosed as a torn cartilage)
Sulphur Springs:  Injured
Barrie Half:  2:00 pace bunny (could I be more stupid?)
Niagara Ultra:  DNF in the half (shortest race I've ever DNF'd)
Creemore Vertical Challenge:  Race director
The Limberlost Challenge:  Injured (surgery in 4 days)
July 17:  Surgery for torn cartilage in my right knee
Dirty Girls:  Volunteer
Copper Kettle Dash:  RD assistant
Run for the Toad:  2:41 for the 25K (very happy with that!)
Creemore 100 Mile:  RD assisstant

High point:  Good result at the Toad, given my training
Low point:  2012

The really really bright side to all this?  My running in 2013 can only get better, I'm looking forward to allocating as much time AS I WANT to running in 2014, and 2013 should be a better maple syrup year.  Please.  Not kidding.  Anyone with pull with the weather gods, think of me before your pathetic wish for warm weather in March.

Well, didn't truly get around to writing something with panache, wit or introspection, but I hope to do so in the next blog or two, when I figure out what it is I hope to accomplish in 2013.  Until then, may your runs be filled with fun and the sun shine brighter (but not so much in March).

1 comment:

  1. I can see the title of the book now "Ultra Musing by Vertical Pierre". Thanks for all that you have done and will do for our Ultra Family. May 2013 be a new, safe and joyous year of spending endless hours on the trail.

    By the way , Syrup production will rock this year... I am planning Easter at Blue!