Sunday, January 11, 2015

2015: I'm going to need shades

For those of you who don't quite get the subject line, it is not a reference to the future being so bright I'm going to need sunglasses.  I built a sunroom and I'm going to need to install shades soon.

Sorry.  I had to chuckle at the above!

I am truly hoping that 2015 marks my return to tangible ultra running.  I'm not exactly sure what I mean by "tangible", but it would be a step above what I did in 2013 and 2014, where the ultra races I entered where a study in survival.  Hopelessly under-trained, focused entirely on triage (get to the next aid station, get to the next aid station, get to the net aid station,...); the only realistic goal being to finish.

In 2015, I want to develop a sound ultra running base.  I.e. 80K - 100K per week.  No time off, no distractions.  Sculpture the body until it is a lean mean ultra machine.  I am retired and I have run out of excuses.  Without the annoyance of having to work, I can set up some impressive weekly tallies, even during maple syrup season.  This is all theory, but I will no longer allow reality to encroach on the Running Dream...

I am retired, but live in a very strange financial landscape.  I stopped working at Honda on May 1, 2014, but my first pension cheque arrives on February 1, 2015.  How did I do this?  Mainly smoke and mirrors, but also some esoteric portfolio manipulations.  I would provide more details and insight, but I'm not altogether certain I understand what transpired...  Suffice it to say that for 2014 and this year, I will be focused on races that are within biking distance of home.  Please ignore the races and holidays that Lee Anne and I did last year in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and Florida.  Those were momentary lapses of reason, for the most part.

Focus Item 2015:  Run more OUS races.

Until recently, not many people realized that Ontario has become a hotbed of ultra running.  With a 14 race schedule, there is little in northeast North America to match it.  I say "until recently", because some of the bigger names in running have started to plunk down races in our back yard.  North Face and Red Bull to name two.  I expect more to come.  At first, this filled me with a modicum of trepidation, but now my stance is "bring it on"!   OUS (Ontario Ultra Series) has grown the Ontarian ultra base from circa 25 people, to north of 800, over the last 20 years.  Doug Barber recalls races in the '80's where 7 people showed up.  In 2014, two of the bigger races (Sulphur Springs and Run for the Toad) combined, had 400 people in their ultra events!  The ultra segment of Trail Runner's Trophy Series is chronically sprinkled with Ontario runners.  If the big names come into our neighbourhood, I expect even more people will be trying trail and ultra races.  This will inevitably help us little guys!

Lee Anne has signed up for a very strange race (this is news?) in Tennessee.  It is called "A Race For the Ages" and is tailored to older ultra runners.  The race ends at 6:00 PM on Monday, September 4, 2015.  Runners are given one hour for each year they have lived!  Lee Anne (61 years old) starts at 5:00 AM on Saturday morning and has 61 hours to tally as many miles as she can, before the race ends at 6:00 PM on Labour Day.

OUS will have 14 ultra races.  My 2015 aspirations are twofold:

1.  Run a 50 miler.  I'm tired of being labelled a baby ultra runner, regardless of how good my reasons might be (surgery on both knees, back problems, broken neck, being only semi-rational... Okay, the last point is an advantage).

2.  Run more of the ultras.  Yes, this will stress the knees, but I can't help but think that running a 50K on little training is a bigger stressor.  My skewed logic states that simply running more ultras will get me ready for the next race.  Please don't reply and burst my bubble!

2015 Race Schedule:

2015-04-11:  Spring Warm-up.  Hopefully I can get in a run (maple syrup season)
2015-04-25:  50K at Pick Your Poison.
2015-05-23:  50K at Sulphur Springs
2015-06-06:  6H at Kingston
2015-06-20:  50K at Niagara Ultra
2015-07-04:  50K at Laura Secord
2015-07-11:  28K at Limberlost (nope, I can't do B2B ultras yet)
2015-07-25:  12H at Dirty Girls (yup, longest ultra yet.  Might run the night option)
2015-08-08:  RD at Creemore
2015-09-04:  Crew at Race for the Ages
2015-09-12:  50M at Haliburton.  Training:  Please make this happen
2015-10-03:  50K at Run for the Toad
2015-10-31:  6H at Horror Trail

Horror Hill was a toss-up between 6 hour and 50K.  I would prefer the 6H (secret plans of running more than 50K) but I plan to enter a lot of 50K series races.  Realistically, I have no chance of doing well in the 50K series, so let's focus on the ultra series specifically and sign up for the 6H.

Is 13 races sufficient to keep me out of trouble in 2015?  Stop!  You're killing me!  Ah, but seriously, along with our plans for travel and renovations, I should avoid long stretches with idle hands...

Will the schedule change?  Count on it.  I'm sure commitments such as vacations will crop up that will preclude running some of the races.  I'm fervently hoping that the "commitment" is not of the surgery flavour...

Very long term (2016+) plans are to align vacations with goal races.  I don't ever see myself being able to run a 100 mile race.  My knees and back are nodding their heads in agreement.  Races such as the West Highland Way are most likely out.  But there are still many 50K - 80K races around the world than pique my curiosity.  Even shorter races, such as the Fell runs in GB would be a blast.  As a tantalizing tidbit, check out Scotland's Ultra website



  1. Come to UTMB with us in 2016 Pierre and run CCC. We got a small group going.

    1. Yeah, only 100K for the CCC. Piece of cake! Lee Anne and I hiked the TMB (not the race) in 6 days and THAT was a struggle. 4 hour climbs (1.6K vertical)... Note: Dawn is running UTMB this year so be sure to pick her brain!