Thursday, December 25, 2014

Always Have a Plan

Okay, here was the plan:

Wednesday December 17 (incidentally, I was 56.5 on that date):

Move couch.

Thursday December 18, 2014 until April, 2015:

Increase my running speed, stamina and distance until I am a "running force".  A running force is one of those runners who seemingly effortlessly cruises through a 50K or 50M to an age category podium finish.  In my case, it would be in the geezer category, but that suits me perfectly!  A non - "running force" finishes an ultra with these words:  "Blospertoto werkolominy", which is what you say when you are desperately trying to avoid puking and falling down.  A running force says:  "Golly gee that was tough!", and it is apparent that they can easily knock off another 20K.

So, the plan was set, I had cleared my schedule, allowing me to focus on "the official ramp-up".  Pending future derailments (maple syrup season, Spring Warm-up (oops!  more on that in a later blog entry) and the Spanish Inquisition) would have to be dealt with in due time, but NOTHING could stop the ramp.

Or so I thought...

After a full year of demolishing a house, then building a new one, I had become stronger, faster, higher.  I lifted plywood, lumber, heavy objects with a smile.  Four of us lifted three 43 foot 2X8 LVL (laminate veneer lumber) beams to the roof peak.  That would be 16 feet above the second floor.

A week ago, I lifted a couch with my son-in-law Daryl.  Yes, it was a pull-out couch (has a bed in it), but I doubt it weighed more than 150 pounds.  While holding the couch, I shifted the weight to my left hand, in order to get a better grip with my right hand.  The twisting motion, while bending down, resulted in something popping in my back and shooting pains travelling down my left leg to my toes.

I have had major back problems for 30 years.  I have a bulging disk that puts pressure on my sciatic nerve.  Very painful!  The last major episode was 20 years ago, while skiing out west.  It took 6 months before it was better...  All year I have been extremely careful to avoid stressing my back.  Now, simply walking will start my left leg twitching for hours.

So much for the ramp-up!

Yesterday, in a "Damn The Torpedoes" mood, I went for a run.  The sensible components in my brain (they are highly atrophied) dictated a slow and short run.  The DTT components elected to run the Ganaraska trail, in 6 inches of snow.  I know, less intelligent than almost anything you can think of, but it is completely unfair to put a major trail at the end of my driveway.  The cost was considerable, but staying awake most of the night with intermittent pain was an acceptable trade-off.  Running 4K on a trail in late December near Creemore was fantastic!

2014 in Review

I have (as intimated above) big plans for 2015, that will have to wait for an early 2015 blog entry.  Reflecting on 2014 will help put my aspirations into perspective.  In 2014, newly retired and with a significant construction project on the go, I decided to channel much of my running energy into supporting my wife Lee Anne.  Lee Anne turned 60 in November 2013 and we decided to make an attempt on a Canadian age category record.  It did not turn out according to plan, but she has learned a lot, which will help in the future.


Pick Your Poison 25K,  3 Days at the Fair 12 hour, Niagara 50K, Limberlost 28K and Canlake 50K.  2014 was a lighter race schedule than in most years.

Crew:  3 Days at the Fair, Pinecreek Challenge, Icarus Florida Ultrafest (crewed Lee Anne)
Volunteer:  Dirty Girls, Run for the Toad
Organize:  Creemore Vertical Challenge, Creemore Copper Kettle Dash

My running did not meet expectations in 2014.  Perhaps I should rephrase this as training did not meet expectations.  It is difficult to put in adequate mileage when most days you are working construction and driving for 4 hours.  I was badly under-trained for the Canlake 50K, which is apparent in my PW time of 7:01:21.

However, runners are nothing if they are not optimists!  I have unrealistic expectations that the weight loss alone (I went from circa 200 pounds to 180) will shave an hour off my 50K time.  I just finished the book "What Makes Olga Run", which is inspirational for older athletes.  A recommended read for anyone north of 50.


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