Monday, December 14, 2015

Creemore: A Canadian Skyrunning Race???


That pretty well sums it up.  Of the more than 1,200 road, trail and ultra runners that have stood at the starting line in Creemore, Ontario, waiting for the gun to fire, very few were thinking "Gee, I wish this course had more hills".  And as per the literature, there are only 4 hills.  I see no reason to cloud descriptions of the Creemore course with words such as "incline", "grade", or "cliff".  Four hills and one valley should be sufficient to get across the message that Creemore is not overly flat.  Where is this diatribe heading?

About a month ago, I got an email from the Canadian Skyrunning Federation (CSF) asking if I would consider submitting the CVC as a Skymarathon.  My first thought was no, I would not consider it.  Mainly because it had never occurred to me that Creemore COULD be part of the Skyrunning Series!  As it stands (this will explain why you have a bad feeling about the above paragraph and why I started this Blog entry with one word) Creemore has almost enough vertical to meet the minimum requirements of a Skymarathon.  The CVC could be part of the Canadian Skyrunning Series, if I could add another hill.  Someone out there knows how to challenge me!

One problem with trying to find a hill in the Creemore area is that there are too many options.  I would like to keep most of the course intact.  It works well,with aid station placement, recovery (granted, lean in this area) and to minimize the number of marshals.  But there are several hills that I would dearly love to add, as some have incredible views, others offer raging technical trails and one has a pleasant flat part.  Guess which one I have already discarded!

So, there will most likely be changes to the CVC course for 2016.  This causes me a bit of angst, as the 50K men's record (Calum Neff) is a blistering 3:25:52.  This is 35 minutes faster than the next best time.  With a new course, the record books will have to be rewritten.  Also of concern are the hundreds of less-than-happy runners that will not like me, for adding another hill.  Come to think of it, they already don't like me, so no loss there!

So, please take a look at the Skyrunning Canada website.  As a note to the runners who enjoy hills, you can accrue points at Creemore for the Canadian Skyrunning series.

The Creemore Vertical Challenge is looking up!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Bad Idea: Wearing Antlers While Running

Well, we made it to December and I think we should celebrate the decay of daylight and erosion of ambient temperatures!  I thought seriously about challenging others to run every day in December, but that's been done before.  Anyway, I have a better idea...

The Challenge:

This makes much more sense from my perspective and has the added bonus that you can change your mind in mid-December, if you are falling behind your goals!  Chose 3 of the 4 available challenge options and decide whether you will increase or decrease from your current rate!


1.  Run Faster
2.  Run Further
3.  Drink new beer or wine
4.  Potato Chips

This is too easy.  Pick 3 of the above and decide if you want to increase or decrease.  Example, here is my choice:

Running Further:  Increase
Drinking new wine:  Decrease
Potato Chips:  Increase

This should be easy for me, as I have drastically reduced my mileage since Haliburton.  I am comfortable with the wines I am currently drinking and you can never eat too many potato chips.  I will ignore running faster as I am having trouble with that aspect this decade.

I knew that hunting season started soon, so in a fit of proactivity, I checked the Ministry of Hunting for the season dates.  Have you ever been to the MOH site?  Holy crap!  There is no way anyone can figure out when hunting season starts or when it ends!  Being an incredibly intelligent ultra runner, I decided to ask a hunter when the season began and finished.  They lose their license if they don't know, so I'm sure all of them have waited patiently on the phone for hours, to talk to an actual MOH person, to find out.  I figured that if you want to find a hunter, simulate their prey.  So I donned an old set of antlers and ran in the Simcoe County reforestation areas...

I really hope that anyone reading this entry is not taking notes.


Since Haliburton, running has been tricky.  A DNF at Run for the Toad and a DNS at Horror Trail.  However, running is now starting to get easier.  I still have the odd run where my legs seem to be in a different time zone.  They are starting to listen to me now.  I am not running much over 20K, but shorter runs (12K) no longer feel like a visit to the Gobi desert.  New for this year is a running log.  I have always wondered what sort of mileage I did and the current total for this year is surprisingly high.  I've just surpassed 2200K, which includes quite the nosedive in the past 2 months.  Monthly totals show how much of an impact Hali had on me:  July (250.0K), August (200.5), September (208.5), October (67.5) and November (135.0).  August included hiking in Italy.  I find you don't run as much when climbing mountains for 10 hours a day!  At least I don't.  September, without 80K at Hali, and October were lean months, as I struggled to recover.

Creemore Vertical Challenge:

Some very surprising news!  I can't divulge much information until after December 14, but hope to have some great news then.  As a hint, check out one of the Canadian running organizations, that is holding a press conference on December 14.

I had hoped to deploy online registration and update in early December, but these activities will have to wait until mid-December.  Why?  I can't tell you yet.  Not that I'm sworn to secrecy, but I figure that waiting until after the press conference on December 14, 2015 is the correct thing to do.  In bathroom reno parlance, I'm pumped!

The CVC will take place on Saturday August 6, 2016 and include a 25K, 50K and 75K, same as last year.  I have fiddled once again with the prizes for 2016.  Unfortunately, the total number will trend downward to 42, coincidentally, the answer to life, the universe and everything.  This year, I had 7 prizes for the 75K women, but only 2 women running that race.  I also have trouble keeping track of different age groups for the 25K versus the 50K and 75K, so I have aligned these, to assist my remaining sanity.  I heard that!

Another change that might not be appreciated is I have reinstated the Earlybird discount.  If you sign up before July 1, it is $10 cheaper.  Why will this not be appreciated?  The Earlybird discount will replace the small jug of maple syrup, received by the first 100 people who signed up.  Now I will find out who the MMSC's are!  (Militant Maple Syrup Consumers).  In 2015, I had to guess at T-shirt sizes, as many people signed up after I had to place the order.  This did not work out nicely, as there were several women who signed up early, but did not receive the correct size T-shirt.  This year, I will only order for people who sign up before July 1.  I need to submit the T-shirt order on July 2,

So, signing up before July 1 will be cheaper and you get a T-shirt.  Win-win.

I will also bring back the spot prizes.  They were discontinued in 2015 because the race itinerary became quite crowded with the addition of the 75K.  I noticed that a few runners were disappointed.  I now have to convince my wife Lee Anne that making a few extra pieces of pottery is fun!

As it is never too early to troll for volunteers, keep in mind that you can get volunteer hours at the CVC, for that big race you hope to enter.  Some races (Western?) you have to volunteer on the trails or at aid stations for the hours to count.

Enjoy your running and note that the days get longer in 3 weeks.