Tuesday, December 6, 2011

NEWF Story

I was running in terrible weather, a day or so ago and it reminded me of a fellow Jim I met running a 50K Ultra several years ago. He was from Newfoundland and running the "100" so was pacing himself for the long distance and as a consequence I was able to run with him for about an hour. It was pouring rain and I complained how wet and cold I was. "This is nothing" he said in his heavy Newfoundland accent, and started to tell his story.
One fine June day Jim and two friends decided it would be fun to run up the coast from their home in St. John`s to his cousin in Trinity Bay, about fifty miles.
It was a beautiful day, warm and sunny with a gentle breeze blowing off the north Atlantic. They ran along at good pace, laughing and joking with each other and failed to notice the black ominous clouds rolling in from the sea. The had covered about twenty-five miles  on the deserted road. when the Nor~Easter hit, with all the fury of a short changed Hooker on Crack. There was no cover and the freezing rain and hail stung and blinded them as they slipped and slided in the screeching wind. They hung on to each other, each hanging on to the shorts of the man in front like a grottiest dazes chain, as they inched down the road. Fortunately, the temperature along with the wind started to drop and they were able to resume their run.
Then the snow started and soon it had risen above their ankles. They were over half way and had no choice but to push on their breath hanging in the air a steam locomotive and ice forming on our beards and moustaches. I was fascinated with the story, but before I could comment Jim said "wait,There`s more" He began again. The sun came out bright, strong and hot. It lifted our spirits and our pace and we were having a grand time for and hour or so but soon we were all shedding our clothes like snake its skin. It must have been 100F when we climbed the last hill and saw Trinity Bay in the distance. "Wow" I said "that was some run". "No wait" he said, "there`s more"   I waited for him to speak as we splashed though a stream and scrambled up a hill. "What happened" I demanded. Jim stopped and stared up , the rain splashing off his face and long beard. Then the Locast came! 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Vulture Bait 50K

I learned a lot at this race, I know its hard to believe, since I have been doing this sort of thing for about fifty years. But first I had not signed up like I had thought I had and it was only by the hard work of Jenifer, of the organizing club, that I got to race at all and second there is no point in E mailing pick up details to someone who does not have access to a computer. As a consequence I arrived late at the race. where I learned  that the cut-off times for the 50k was  on clock time not your own start time. I put in a good effort but arrived at the 25k cut-off about 7 minutes late.
In spite of this I would recommend this 50k. The trails were well marked and all the aid station volunteers were fantastic! It was one of the best run races this year

Saturday, October 8, 2011

CleoDog 2001-2011

I was sitting at the front door trying to tie my running shoes and couldn`t because they were wet and slippery  from my tears. CleoDog died . She was diagnosed with ostro sarcoma in December 2010 and after a short illness she bounced back as my loyal running partner. We were in her favourite field , when she scared up a deer.  The chase was on. The deer covering the ground in graceful souring leaps. CleoDog close to the ground, her powerful hind legs throwing tuffs of sod and grass. The Deer sensing the closing dog.  dogged right. CleoDog in attempt to follow, tumbled and rolled, She let out a painful cry. When I ran up to where she was lying, I saw that her cancer weakened leg had broken. She tucked her head into my lap and  I could see in her big brown eyes she had had enough.
It`s been a week and I ran her favourite route. I did not see the deer but two Doberman Dogs, who usually went berserk when we would pass. Stood silent starring on their property line at the strange old man stumbling past, Crying! file://localhost/Users/spencedickson/Desktop/IMG_1501.JPG

The Prince Edward Country Marathon Oct 2 2011

This is a nice point to point marathon that finishes in Picton ON. I think that this could be called a very picturest marathon However it was a lost to me ( no Fault of the organisers ) The day dawned cold and windy 6C 30-50klm winds from the east and driving rain. The race ran west to east so doing the half, the wind and rain was in my face for 13 miles. To make maters worse I was suffering a bout of the Flu and had to stop at too many Porta Potties. To cap it off I broke a front tooth off on a peice of frozen power bar. But I finnished! sort of!

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I reached a new milestone in this new phase of my running a 95k week. I think this is mainly because of my fear of my up and coming 50K Ulta The Buzzard Bait. I last ran it almost four years ago and it was a real downer. I was almost blind 8% vision and should have asked for a guide but was too proud. The course was well marked with ground level flags and I had some  vision and thought I would be OK. The course was a two loops of 25k and the first loop went OK, but at about 40K I followed the course down a gully. There had been a stream crossing here on the first loop and I though this was it. I suddenly stumbled into neck deep freezing water. It was November. I floundered around trying to find my way out when I heard kids giggling. I followed their voices and found the bank and asked for their help, but then they started to pelt me with clods of mud so I shut up. Eventually I come across another runner who took me to an Aid station. But my Ultra was over. The Kids had altered the the course as a JOKE. Since then I have had an cornea transplant and see 20/20 out my rt eye but I guess I am still afraid. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Chocolate 10 mile/16K

Off the top I must say that this is a class event. I came down Saturday to pick up my kit with my wife and ended up staying for lunch with friends and watching a fashion show/ comedy show, show casting women's running and exercise clothing. It was very entertaining.
Race day was cool with a stiff breeze off the lake. I met up with some of my old Guy`s and we lined up for the start. We knew that the winner of the 60+ would come from our group and although we all joked about our various disabilities ( according to us we should be in the wheel chair division) we all had our RACE faces on. When the Gun went off we all took off like Mad Men. We ran the first K in 3:48 still in a bunch. Shortly after that my legs turned to MUSH and not surprising we all ground to a halt. We had 15K to go. The winner was determined by. One; who could stand the PAIN best. Two; who recovered the fastest. Three; who had to walk the shortest.
I finished in 1:38 for fifth place the winner 1:35. We were all 5 to 10 minutes off our PBs. We had an average of about 50yrs running experience. It just shows that anybody can make a novice mistake!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Need For Speed

I had a reality check when I got the results of the ITT (Iroquois) I finished in 2:11. The winner in the 60+, the perennially fast Chris ran a 1:34 putting him in the top ten overall. I was 27/51 overall.  fourth in my class. Even it I had not been so stupid to get lost for 30 minutes. I would have been only 2nd. As it turned out 2nd was only 7 minutes ahead me so I guess I am only mortal running with the mortals. Chris runs with the GODS!
I had better get going on the speed work.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Iroquoia Trial Test

The organizing club of the Iroquois are blessed with the fantastic Trail system  of the Bruce Trail and were able to run a number races over different distance. I chose the out and back 15k as my friend Roger was running the out and back 50k and was using all of the 15k loop so I could see how he was doing at least twice.
The 50k started early and the 15k about one hour later.  The first 100M was across a large field to a single track trail were we got bunched up in to a single file. I could hear some one shouting instructions and was surprised to discover blind runner Elizabeth and her guide Amie just in front  of me. I ran with them for about 4k until the trail started to get very rough with bowling ball size rocks and steep climbs along the Niagara Escarpment. I decided to leave them at this point as I was too much of a distraction and it was a dangerous part of the course.
 Where it  was good footing I ran hard, but picked my way slowly if the difficult sections. 
Surprisingly I passed a lot of runners and reached the turn around with out incident. On the way back I passed Amie and Elizabeth heading to the turn around. They had make great time on the good part of the trail. When I can to the Escarpment I made a wrong turn and after a long decent ended up on a Hwy. I ran along the Hwy about 2k looking for trail signs when I ran into a check point from the wrong direction. They sent back up the escarpment where I saw the trail sign I had missed. A dum error that cost me 30 minutes. My only excuse is that I was looking down at my footing and missed the sign on a tree. I cursed on to the finish a most enjoyable race on a great course. It should be noted that Roger and a Blind runner and her guide did not make the same "Bone Head" mistake I did. I will be back for the 50k next year.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Joy of Running

I "jump" with the bang of the gun.
Slowly at first, confined by the crush of the  crowd I start to run
Faster and faster as the runners start to stretch out
A sea of multicolored jerseys undulating over the rolling
country road
I will the sweet air deep into my lungs
A light sweat forms and I feel my stride begin to Quicken
My feet tap the moving ground with a light caress
I start to pass and I am passed
The energy of the runners carries me
I feel great! My heart is filled with......JOY

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Hill

I was in trouble,my legs felt like led. Each step up the incline took a gigantic effort. My eight minute mile pace had slowed to a crawl. I could hear my breath exit my lungs like a baby`s sob. My feet felt like they were encased in cement. Twenty miles to go, I can`t do it.
How did this happen!
I remember powering over this hill.
Wait a minute that was fourty years ago!
I pondered the passing years as I plodded up the mountain, eyes to the ground with an occasional glance towards the summit.
Suddenly, a bike appeared, comming down toward me. The rider was low over the bars. I could see it was a woman,the streaming air plastering her tunic to her chest. Long red hair erupting from under her helmit and flapping like a Canada flag over her back.
In a flash of color, sweat and perfume she streaked by.
I, continued my ponderous climb, day dreaming of younger days, running with friends for the pure JOY of it, the wind in our faces, the miles dancing away under our feet. Most are dead now.
My feet are thunping on the road, my lungs are burning. I was about to come to a wimpering stop.
Then I hear it! A sgueaking, almost in time with my labored breathing. Its the girl, grinding her bike back up the mountain.The bike`s clip ons squeaking under the powerful force of her bulging thigh muscles. She pulls even to me, she glances at me. Her green eyes are shinning like stone jade in the sun light. Instead of the expected look of pity when she saw my old face, a slow smile curved on her lips, as if we were co-conspirators in something devilish. She powered past, her gluts exoticaly contracting and relaxing under her tight bike shorts, sweat rivulets madking zigzag lines across her taunt calf muscles.
She grew steadly smaller and smaller intill she disappeard over the crest.
I never saw her again, although I ran up that mountain many times that summer.
I still do the odd Ultra Marathon, and meet old guys like me thudding down trail. No I don`t ever win anything other that the joy of it. I am very slow but I can still KILL on the hills.