Sunday, March 20, 2016

Happy Spring!

Spring might be early this year, but it certainly hasn't brought warmer weather.  It was -10 in Creemore this morning.  Brrr!

Running has not gone well so far this year, mainly because I've been desperately seeking alternatives to lacing up the shoes and heading out into the cold gloom.  Every Autumn I convince myself that running in cold weather has its advantages, such as (help me out here!) less foliage blocking the views and (a bone, throw me a bone!) uncrowded trails.  But around early February, I'm fooling nobody.  Running in Ecuador, although difficult to breath, made it that much harder to don the winter running uniform and head out the door, once back in Creeland.

Eventually, it is time to ramp up mileage.  Yesterday was scheduled to be a 20K run.  However, we slept in a bit and took our time getting ready.  The start was slow, even by my standards.  At 10:42, we had reached the 10K turn around; a hamlet called Dunedin.  Those of you who have joined in the OUTRace Spring Warm-up fun run will know the local.  The hall is exactly 10K from our house.  This is about the point where I woke up and realized that meeting Andja at the sugar shack was going to be dicey.  I had to run home (10K), then drive 25K to the property, by 12:00.  Epiphany!  I will combine a longish run (20K) with speedwork!  I turned for home and increased my speed.  This lasted about 5K when my bad knee (left) started complaining.  Not sure how many people have a chronic injury, but my bad knee has been hurting since 1975.  Yes, my doctor has suggested that I take up a different sport, but I'm an optimist and somehow I keep thinking that my knee will get better, possibly in the next 40 years.  Yes, I can guess what you are thinking, about how my knee will get "better"...  Needless to say, I had to slow down and was a bit late meeting Andja.

A timely segue into the Spring Warm-up.  OUTRace (Ontario Ultra and Trail Race series) puts on an annual fun run that doubles as a fund raiser.  This year, Stephen Bridson and I are organizing the run.  For a modest entry fee of $35, runners get to test their "winter legs" against some big hills and part of the course follows the Bruce trail.  There is also a grand prize of free entry into most of the races in the series.  Lunch is typically soup and pizza and there are spot prizes to compliment the grand prize.  For me, the best part is chatting with some of the regulars on the Ontario circuit.  The Spring Warm-up is on Saturday April 16, 2 weeks before the first race in the series, the dreaded Pick Your Poison.  Better to test the legs early, than in a race!  For details and to sign up:

OUTRace Spring Warm-up

This has been a troubling year for maple syrup.  It is still a bit early, but there has been a plethora of warm days with no sap run.  My concern is that the tap holes will heal early, reducing the sap yield later this season.  I have made 37 litres of syrup so far, which is less than half the syrup needed for the race.  I would also like to sell some syrup to recover the costs and a bit for personal use would be enjoyable.  This year, along with cutting 4 bushcord of firewood for the evaporator, I had to replace about 200 feet of tubing.  The warm December resulted in more squirrel activity and they chewed through quite a bit of tubing.  Add in general maintenance, jars and cleaning supplies, the cost adds up!  I normally make more than 200 litres of syrup in a year, so the current tally is not healthy.

Today is too cold to make syrup, so I will start a fire in the pottery studio and start making the CVC medals.


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