Friday, January 5, 2018

Year in Review and Plans for 2018

Let me see if I can remember how to blog...  It's been a while.

The near-two month hiatus from posting is due primarily to an inexplicably busy schedule coupled with a lack of races on which to report.  The lack of races is understandable, at this time of year in Ontario.  But please sit back down and calm yourself.  I can hear you jumping up and down and yelling that I am retired and there is no such thing as a schedule, let alone a busy one.  I feel sorry for when you retire - it can be a cruel task master...

I've been busy with a myriad of unrelated tasks and projects that crested quite spectacularly in the last 2 weeks.  The OUTRace (Ontario Ultra and Trail Race) series took some time.  I'm on the executive and we cobble together the next year's schedule and events at this time of year.  It is also the voting season, where the race directors vote on adding any new races and other topics that are vote worthy.

My daughter bought a house in Wasaga Beach, which is much too close to where I live, in Creemore.  It was in need of renovations before it could be used as a 4 season house.  Guess who was the designated contractor?  I figured a closing date of December 21 would provide me with a few warm days in which I could insulate the crawlspace in comfort.  Stop your shouting.  You can't blame me for the severe cold spell, just because I planned outside work in December!  Totally unfair.  The exterior walls had no insulation, house wrap or vapour barrier.  My plan was to frame 2X4 walls inside and insulate them.  The rooms would become 4 inches smaller, but my daughter is living there, not me, so no big deal.  My niece's husband suggested that I glue SM insulation board to the existing drywall, then glue drywall to the SM board.  This worked quite well, but I don't like protruding screw heads, which is what happened to the screws I used to keep the drywall in place while the glue dried.  I prefer screwing into studs.  Somehow that came out wrong...

Finally, Lee Anne's pottery business has become much more successful, which to me, means more glazing, firing the kiln and transporting pottery to various stores in the area.  It doesn't sound like much, but suddenly I was struggling to find time to run.  Then I caught a cold...  Let's leave this topic before it turns ugly.

2017 was both a successful and disappointing year for me.  I participated in 9 long races and completed 6 ultras (a personal high).  I developed an accurate understanding of how to recover when running an ultra on consecutive weekends.  You don't.  Effective training techniques give way to triage.  Envision Hawkeye Pierce tersely stating "lose the fingers - he doesn't need them to run".

I also have a new appreciation of how much logistics plays a role in successful racing.  Yes, it is cheaper to get up at 3:00 AM and drive to the race site on race day, but how much of a toll does the lack of sleep and stress of driving take on your finishing time?  I won't mention the fun and joy of driving a long distance home on trashed legs.

But overall, 2017 was an incredible year for me.  I saw (and greatly admire) those few individuals that make it to almost every race.  I was able to chat with many runners, volunteers, race directors and other members of the OUTRace executive.  I completed 3 ultras in 15 days.  Mostly, I simply enjoyed being at the races.  They are fun, exciting and challenging.  I'll never do it again...

Seriously, I don't plan on taking on so many races in 2018.  My stab at the Norm Patenaude award might not be the final attempt, but I would prefer to regroup in 2018 and run more races in a recovered state, instead of the sickly death-like trance I assumed while "racing".

So, 2018 will be more of a sampling of new and old races, ultra and shorter distances.  I will ease into the race schedule, possibly with a 25K at Pick Your Poison, instead of hammering out 3 ultras in the first 29 days.  Speaking of PYP, it is the 10th anniversary this year and they already have 200 people signed up!

The OUTRace email blast goes out tomorrow.  It holds some exciting changes for 2018 as it is the 30th anniversary for OUTRace (formerly OUS).  I will be involved in hosting a 30th anniversary 30K fun run, to be held in early August.  There will also be spot prizes and a draw for "OUTRace Regulars" - people who sign up for 3 or more OUTRace events.

Well, gotta run - hope to see you on the trails in 2018!

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