Monday, September 3, 2018

OUTRace Fun Run and More!

I knew it was a while since I last posted, but was somewhat taken aback when I realized the last post is dated May 2.  Holy snapping left bananas captain, that is more than half the OUTRace season!  There is no single reason for my being this tardy.  Yes, I've been busy with a plethora of tasks, events and general living.  I am also racing less this season as last year's Norm Patenaude award attempt is something I hesitate to replicate.  However, I have not posted due to a lack of interest in maintaining the blog.  It has simply been a lack of due diligence.

Although 2018 is a low-key racing year, there have been some noteworthy events on which I should report.  Should I list them in chronological order?  Why not!

June 2:  Kingston 6 hour

The numbers at this race remain low.  I think this is due to a limited race venue - you can only enter the 6 hour event - and its relatively distant location - about a 6 hour round-trip drive from the GTA.  Lee Anne and I enjoy the race in part because it is not crowded.  The field is a core group of ultra runners and very personal.  Each 1.1K loop you are greeted by your timer, an actual human.  Since the course is primarily paved, it doesn't appeal to the hard-core trail runners.

I would love to state that I know the Ontario Ultra Series rules so well, that I was aware in turning 60, I could run a mere 32K and score points.  Jim Orr (OUTRace statistician) knows the rules very well (in fact Jim wrote most of them) but I was not aware that for fixed distance races such as the Kingston 6 hour race, entrants aged 60 - 69 can obtain points in the OUS for covering more than 20 miles.  This is very good to know if you are ancient and having a bad day on the course, but not the reason I stopped at 32K.  I had a 50K race in 2 weeks and did not want to trash my legs too badly.

June 16:  Niagara Ultra

Things start to get interesting for Lee Anne and I at this race.  I started slowly, with the hope of running the preponderance of the 50K before resorting to a walk.  This meant no heroics during the first 25K.  Simply run efficiently and make no mistakes to the turn around (which happens to be Niagara Falls), then repeat on the way back.

I hit the turn-around 25K point feeling tired.  My paltry 32K at Kingston was having an impact on the legs.  I was maintaining acceptable nutrition and hydration levels and although tired, was optimistic that I would make it to 35 - 40K before imploding.  We have all experienced factors in an ultra that poignantly show it ain't over until it's over.  At 27K, with Lee Anne running just ahead of me, I looked up to see her sitting on the curb.  Oh-oh.  A very brief search of my memory did not bring up one recollection of seeing Lee Anne sitting on a curb, a mere 27K into a race.  This can't be good...

Then I noticed the blood.  It was streaming from her head.  Cars were stopping.  A Niagara bus stopped.  I caught up to Lee Anne and assessed the damage.  One large gash above her left eye and another gash on her left cheek.  Blood flowing copiously.  In my rugby days, I had often noticed how much scalp wounds bleed.  Lee Anne was relatively responsive, but I soon noticed a few gaps in her memory.  She did not recall sitting down on the curb.  The bus driver was trained in first aid and was thoroughly proficient in wrapping her head in gauze and taping it, before the ambulance showed up.  The driver of the car had used her cell phone to call 911.  The ambulance arrived and the attendants took over.  I thanked the bus and car drivers for their help.

I am an overly pragmatic individual and sometimes that can get me into trouble.  My first thought,as Lee Anne was being helped into the ambulance, was that I should finish the race.  No, I had no overriding need to avoid a DNF, I simply knew that Lee Anne would be waiting in emerg for 2 - 3 hours (it was actually closer to 4) and I had no car, id, phone, money - you get the picture.  If I finished the race, I could then drive to the Niagara Falls hospital and would have money to purchase the chocolate bars and sports drink so necessary for post-race recovery in a hospital...

I made the wise choice of deferring to Lee Anne.  She was quite adamant that I join her in the ambulance on her way to the hospital.  After the obligatory waiting room wait, Lee Anne was stitched up by the doctor.  Those who know Lee Anne won't be surprised to learn that she asked the doctor, after receiving 8 stitches, if she could return to the race course and finish the race.  I pointed out that we would have trouble finding where we had left the course.  I had no sooner stated this concern when I realized it would be easy to find a large pool of dried blood...

August 25:  OUTRace 30th Anniversary Fun Run

How better to celebrate 30 years of ultra and trail running, than to run 30K!  Almost 60 brave people ventured to Creemore to share in the celebrations.  The weather was not ideal for running, although the rain helped to keep the temperature reasonable and with the 2 river crossing on the course, everyone would be getting wet regardless.

The 7.1K course was on the challenging side, with a few steep hills, some long hills and for variety, some gradual hills.  Pat Campbell might of summed up the feelings of many when he finished his first loop and yelled at me "You're a dead man".  I can only assume he was intimating the course was tough as opposed to being too easy.  The rain made getting up the hills tricky.  The river crossings had the advantage of cleaning the mud off of shoes, but they would not stay clean for long.  Ron Gehl had followed my advice and donned old shoes with almost no tread.  He had a tough time scrambling up the rain soaked cliffs.  Serves him right for taking advice from me!

After the run, people were invited to select a prize of pottery, maple syrup or Creemore T-shirts.  All went away with an OUTRace toque, a prize and some memories.  Perfect Pizza from Creemore served lunch and Creemore Springs Brewery donated 10 cases of their famous fare, to help with the celebrations.

I have a few pictures of people at the second river crossing.  If you would like a copy, email me at  Tell me where you are in the group photo above and what you are wearing, so I can search the pictures for any of you!

Sunday September 16:  Terry Fox Run

I am helping to organize a Terry Fox run in Creemore, starting at 9:00 AM at the Station on the Green.  The course will be an out and back totaling 5K.  Those wishing to log 10K can run the course twice.  Everyone is welcome, so pop up to Creemore and help to support a worthy cause.

Well, that's it for now.  I hope your running is fast and effortless!