Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ramping up for a 50K at the Toad

Okay, I'll be the first to admit that some of my injuries just might be tied to overly optimistic training programs.  During a busy month of August, my training suffered.  I am entered in the Run for the Toad 50K on October 5.  Yes, in 3 weeks.  So I thought it would be a neat to see if I can ramp up to a 50K race in 4 weeks.  Today was my first "long" run.  I was supposed to go 25K, but I was better off running 20K.  This week saw 2 runs of 7.5K and a significant amount of chopping wood.  I was tired at 10K...

I am looking forward to the Toad.  It is sold out (really!) just as in most other years.  It is the national 50K trail race.  There is prize money this year, so it could very well draw some big names, other than Lee Anne Cohen (this gets me favours in bed - well worth it!).  My plan (oh father pathos) is to run 30K, run/walk to the end of the third loop (37.5K), then walk/run to the finish.  I have unrealistic dreams of a 6:30 finish.  I will likely be chasing the 8 hour cut-off.

Should I drop to the 25K?  Next question please.

Lee Anne and I have volunteered at the Toad in past years.  We helped out the Friday, then ran the race (I have been relegated to the 25K in recent years - Lee Anne runs the 50K) on Saturday.  An incredible opportunity to chat with many running friends.  My highlight was handing Ellie Greenwood her Toad bag the year she won the 50K.  We chatted for a few minutes.  Ellie is very friendly and a true ambassador to the sport of ultra running.  I was a model of decorum except when I asked if I could kiss her feet...  Hey!  It's Ellie Greenwood!

George and Peggy Sarson put their hearts into this race.  They don't even mind that I tag along behind them with a clipboard, making copious notes on how to organize an incredible race.  The Sarsons also help out at most other Ontario ultra races.  I recall a few runners at the Creemore race having puzzled expressions on their faces, after receiving their race kits from George and Peggy.  You could tell that they could not quite believe the RD's for the Toad were on registration at a hole-in-the-wall race such as Creemore!

So how exactly will I "run" a 50K race with 4 weeks training?  By wringing every inch out of my positive attitude!  I'm going to move forward with unrelenting progress towards the distant goal.  Or I might pack it in at 25K, depending on how I feel...

I have been called many things, some of which are directly linked to a breathtakingly perverse sense of humour.  The CVC race motto (provided by Sharon Zelinski - stolen from another race I believe) "We're Not Happy Until You're Not Happy" is a good indication of how I approach running in general.  I take pleasure in the race reports that describe the CVC in terms of doom and gloom.  Chris McPeak's RR's from 2010 is a gem.  He has yet to report on 2013 and perhaps will not do so, rather than talk disparagingly about the CVC.  I understand that Chris and JD Begin had another Screamore this year...

But I would be remiss in not mentioning what JD wrote in his blog about Creemore.  For the full entry:

The quote regarding Creemore:

A few weeks ago, I ran the Creemore Vertical Challenge, in oppressive heat. It was horrible. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s the second time in a row that I stagger through 30C+ weather while baking under the sun on those fucking rural roads. This is it. I’m never going back. Even the joy of sitting in the river after the race felt wrong. It reminded me too much of the joke: “Why do you keep hitting you head on the wall? Answer: Because it feels so good when I stop!” I love the people there, but enough is enough. One can only take so much character building.

This, from a seasoned ultra runner...  Fortunately there are many runners that seemingly forget about the race and only remember the pizza, beer and river afterwards.  A few use it as a tuner for Badwater (Madwater?  The Creemore race runs over the Mad river).

That's it for today.  Tomorrow I hunt for my last load of firewood before connecting the tractor to the snow blower.  It's early, but connecting a 6' snow blower to the tractor in a blizzard is less fun than running Creemore!

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