Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February Blahhs

I'm unofficially part of the February challenge.  How unofficial?  I think I'm supposed to be running every day this month.  For me, this is ludicrous on many levels.  Due to injuries, I consider running 3 days in a row as a Capital Hot Streak.  Similar to other runners, by February, I'm tired of running in 17 layers.  It's not that I want 20C and sunny skies, but enough with the -15, gale force winds and whiteouts.  Weather in Creemore is wonderful for most of the year (okay, uphill battle convincing you of that - let's move on) but in February and March, we atone for our sins.  I also support physical inventory at Honda in Alliston.  Not a big draw in terms of time, but scratch a couple of weekends.  I also prepare for maple syrup season, scratch the remaining weekends.

Let's just say that I don't exactly exude back-to-backs during the February challenge...

However, I don't exactly sit on the couch, so the conditioning does not leave me entirely.  Only running prepares you for races, but hauling a 100 kg evaporator through a foot of snow can get your heart rate up to rabbit levels.  Last Sunday I spent about 4 hours on snow shoes and built the evaporator, a 2' X 6" drop flue Phaneuf evaporator, for those keeping score.  I have about 40 hours work before I can start the evaporator.  This includes tapping 250 trees.  Listen carefully:  Snowshoe to a tree, take your gloves off, pull the plug off the spile, drill a 19/64" hole 2.5 inches deep into the tree at a point at least 3 inches away from previous year's tap holes, tap in the spile connected to tubing, make the tubing taught, put your gloves back on, gather the drill, hammer and supplies, snowshoe to the next tree.  Repeat 250 times.  Not to mention getting the sugar shack ready (pump, refractometer, generator, feed lines, shovel snow) and connecting various main lines...

I make a profit of about $12 on a good year.  Please do not ever mention the 2012 season to me.  Ever.

The Ontario Trail/Ultra Series (OTS/OUS) Spring Warm-up approaches!  Since I have so little to do in early April (only work, boil maple syrup and sleep), I am hosting the event this year.  It is a lot of fun and if you have not run the Dunedin course, you might want to do so, in case the event is moved elsewhere in 2014.  I really like the course!  Red warning lights should be flashing all over the place just about now.  I am not know for being overly fond of flat courses.  About 800 meters of the course is flat!  I should quickly mention that the last downhill from near Lavender back into the hamlet of Dunedin, is quite reminiscent of Scotland.  You appear to be running the moors!

Currently, only 6 people are signed up.  That is a 1 in 6 chance of winning free entry into most of the OTS/OUS events!  Not bad, for $35.  Plus there will be random prize draws.  Last year we had about 20 prizes, mainly of pottery (please don't ask me about the 2012 maple syrup season).  In case I have elevated your hopes to an unrealistic level, I should mention that most years, at least 30 people sign up for the fun run.  Still, 1 in 30 for an outlay of $35 and a supported run in Dunedin?

Guinness World Book of Records:

Andrei emailed me yesterday and claimed that Creemore was the hardest of all the marathons and ultras!  I like it when people lie!

For those interested, there is a free 50K run (you can run shorter) on Base Borden at the Buell gym this Sunday, February 24, at 09:00.  I will have to pass as I plan to start tapping this weekend.  Have fun, say hello to Armand and Lise for me!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Busy in the Winter?

I typically like to post once per week.  This avoids having to cover several details or events in one posting, which unfortunately, will transpire in this one...

I have this irrational image of winter in which I have little scheduled and I can spend the weekends with my feet up by the fire, reading or posting to the blog.  The reality is that I have extra chores (firewood, shovelling, blowing the laneway, minor house repairs, major house repairs), a few weekends are spent working (I help with physical inventory at Honda) and we still manage to sneak in a few races or scheduled fun runs.  The ironic aspect of this blog is that I have to leave soon, so this will be (for me) the Readers Digest version...

Creemore Snow Run

A small group came out to enjoy the mud and swollen streams.  The course is 7.5K, comprised of the first 6K of the Creemore Vertical Challenge and the final 1.5K.  I run it about twice per week as it is my short run, so I am used to the slick mud and swollen stream crossings.  Most winters, it is a taxing 7.5K, with a foot of snow on the trails and recovery on the roads.  This year, torrential rain on the day before the run converted the course into something bordering on not runnable.  Those that had weathered the 100 mile course on December 1 & 2 had this look in their eyes that indicated they were not ready to tackle unrelenting mud and treacherous stream crossings - again.  However, a key ingredient of runners is their adaptability.  Although conditions remained the same for the second loop, it seemed easier; almost fun.  I think it was all a matter of perspective!

Base Borden 50K

Base Borden hosts a free 50K run on the last Sunday of January and February.  Lee Anne and I gathered our courage (it was -15C) and headed out.  I had no intention of running 50K, but was hoping for a solid 20K - 30K.  I ended up completing 4 loops (20.8K) and was happy to stop as the course was starting to become slushy.  The course is run on roads with traffic, so it is necessary to run the shoulder when meeting traffic.  Many of the CFB Borden runners were on a cruise (Armand Leblanc, Lise Gagne, etc.) so there was a smaller group.  Ken Moon came out to see if his PF injury was getting better and was able to run 20.8K.  Hopefully he is on the road to recovery.  Get it?  On the road...  Never mind.

Lee Anne was the only one of us to complete the 50K, which took her some time in the slush.  Well done dear!

Coming soon:  Maple syrup season and the OTS/OUS Spring Warm-up

Yeah, this will have to wait for another day, but the SW will again be hosted in Dunedin, one of the most challenging areas in which to run.  I still recall someone asking a question at about 2.5K into the first hill, which happens to be about 3K long:  "Did Pierre design this course?  Oh, never mind"...

Feel the love!