Friday, January 17, 2014

2014: Year of Potential

I strive to avoid making plans and predictions for a new year, especially with regard to a topic as finicky as running.  I suspect I'm not alone.  Very few people have control over enough of their life's variables to even state that they will be running a race next year, let alone winning it, doing better, or finishing.  Even the elite athletes (arguably more so) hesitate to state they will do well in a race.  An elite runner is always playing along the fine line between a podium finish and "3 months off with good behaviour", commonly known as an injury.  Factor in family and work and you are lucky to plan a vacation without a plethora of scheduling changes.

I'm 55.  The family now ranges from North Bay, Barrie and Toronto in Ontario, to Whistler, British Columbia.  I will retire on May 1, 2014, which is a blink away.  Lee Anne wants another crack at her age category 100 mile Canadian record.  I would like to run a 50 miler.  I would also like to attend more of the Ontario Ultra races.  Perhaps not many more as a participant, but as a volunteer.  I know I've beat this topic to death, but volunteering provides much more than it takes.  The main joke is you get to sit in a chair and offer runners grilled cheese sandwich quarters while they run all day and night.  All the excitement without the effort!  There are other benefits.  Many of the elite athletes will vollie at a race before racing it.  Why?  To attain a profound understanding of the course layout, logistics, challenges and infrastructure.  This information can then be factored into their race planning.  Why shouldn't us regular runners do the same?

So here is the wish list.  I'm not going to bother looking up dates, so the races might be out of order.  A few are inserted for light-hearted jesting.  I hope.

Spring Warm-up.  Venue has not been announced as yet.  I will have to pencil this one in, as it will fall smack in the middle of maple syrup season.  I hope to attend nonetheless.

Laura Secord Memorial:  I gnash my teeth on this one!  It falls at the end of syrup season.  I cannot commit to running it (early season race on the Bruce Trail and I am sidelined???  Arggg) or even a confirmed volunteer.  The best I can do is tell RD Diane Chesla that I will vollie if I am there.  Oh, the injustice!

Pick Your Poison.  25K.  I would love to run the 50K, but PYP falls directly after 6 weeks of working, snowshoeing and sitting in a sugar shack.  The hope is that in 2015, I can run and make maple syrup.  Nothing else, so 50K becomes realistic.

Seaton Trail.  25K.  There are horror stories surrounding this race.  Look at the 2011 50M results.  Only the podium FINISHED the race.  Hopefully it sells out before I register and I'm forced to vollie.

3 Days at the Fair.  Crew for Lee Anne.  Hope to get some laps in, if allowed.

Sulphur Springs.  50K.  Gonna do it or die in the attempt.  I've decide to DNF only shorter runs this year.  Yes, it makes no logical sense.  Recall who is typing this.

Kingston.  TBD.  Realistically, if I want to do well at Niagara, I might need to vollie or skip this one.  Unrealistically, we will bike to the race and run it.

Niagara.  50K.  Bike from Kingston.  Wine taste while Lee Anne completes the 100K.

Creemore Vertical Challenge.  RD.

Limberlost.  Vollie.  It's about time I helped Neil with the UCC (Ultra Challenge Challenge).  If your are unfamiliar with the UCC, avert your eyes.  You don't want anything to do with this fringe entity.

Bike to Newfoundland.  I guess part of it will be a swim.  Obviously I haven't worked out all the logistics on this one.

Dirty Girls.  12 hour.  Running all night is crazy-stupid.  Can't wait.  Vollie if possible.

Creemore Copper Kettle Dash.  Assistant RD.  The concept is excellent:  5K or 10K just before the beer garden opens at the Copper Kettle Festival.  The downside is committing to an event during the only large segment of the summer calendar that is open.

Run to Quebec City.  Maybe bike it.  Okay, probably drive, then bike and run in the district.  I hate it when common sense prevails.

Haliburton.  50M.  Haven't been to this race since 2008 and it is starting to get painful.  Lee Anne vollied last year, but I had to work (moved the Honda Canada mainframe to Colorado).  I am predicting that work will not be a factor this year!

Run for the Toad.  50K.  Setting my sights on improving my 6:15 time in 2013.  Probably not a podium finish...  There are some FAST runners at this one!

Horror Hill:  6 hour.  A varied 2.5K trail.  Long enough not to get overly bored, but short enough that a logistical mistake doesn't ruin your race.

Bruce Trail.  I would like to run the whole thing, although not at one go.  Need to convince the wife this is a desirable goal...

There are a few other races I am eyeing and possibly 1 - 2 vacations that will factor in a far-away race. Run Off The Grid and Ottawa look appealing.  There will likely be some trade-offs (I will be forced to run a marathon, I'm sure) but if the body is willing, it will be a better year of running!

So that's it!  Quite a full year.  With luck, 75% of it will transpire.


  1. Sounds like a fun season to me! See you out for most of it...perhaps I will join you on the wine tasting in Niagara :)

  2. Great plans Pierre. Hope to see you and Lee Anne out at some of the OUS races this year. LS100 next weekend and it's a mud fest in Short Hills today. Not sure it's going to dry out. Thanks for the blog entries. Alex