Thursday, September 13, 2012

Speed Work

I am 71yrs this year and although I am satisfied with my performance, I am discouraged by my speed which has been deteriorating this last year.
 So I decided too"bite the bullet" and do speed work. I went to the Mac. Track last night and it was closed for repairs. Every body was doing their work outs on the road circle, a 800M loop around the campus. This turned out to be a blessing in disci se as other than the runners streaming past me ,I was screened from the general public.
The 1st 800M went as planned but at 600M the strange but familiar burning sensations started in my legs and I started to pant like an old dog. 4:35! What I had expected 2 something! ( that was 50yrs ago! ).
The 2nd 800M I was determined to do better but at 600M I hit a wall again only harder this time! 4:35 again.
The 3rd 800M I resigned myself too relax more, In my mind I  hear my old coach shouting " head up, chest out, light feet, feel your toes launch off the ground." 4:20
I felt strangely elated on the cool down jog to the RR. I was very slow but I was improving.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

the start and finish line

Dirty Girls Ultra 2012

Friday August 10. 
I was originally  planning to relate this report in analogical order, but when I stated to relate the events as they happened to my wife, Her eyes went very big and she exclaimed,"you Guys are nuts!"
So I will talk about my impressions first..
Roger relaxing after a dinner of his wife`s Chilly
I absolutely LOVE this Race! It is 8k loops of single track up and down the Mansfield ski area. I had expected a muddy slippery trail, after three days of rain, But the sandy clay held up extremely well. Only a small section got slippery, after 48hr of racing!

I picked Roger up at his home in St. Jacobs in the rain and by the time we got to Airport Rd, it was raining hard, pounding on the car like hammers. The traffic had slowed to a crawl and Roger commented that he could only see 10 feet. I tried to re-assure him by reminding him that I saw clearly about 5 feet at best and had many years of safe driving. This did not seem to relax him.
We arrived and successfully pitched our tent and tarps with minimal water seeping in. I had a 100 year old Hudson's Bay blanket and it was fantastic at soaking up the excess water. My wife had a fit when she heard but I am sure her Grandmother would have approved.
We set up next to Rhonda-Marie Avery, her husband, daughter and friend Nicole. We were all planing to guide Rhonda a B3 runner through the 24hr Ultra Saturday.

Roger cooked up his wife`s fantastic Chilly for dinner and we really stuffed ourselves. "Just a note for next time." we discovered that although delicious, 5 bean Chilly may have not been the best choice meal before a 24 hr. Ultra far from a washroom.

At 8:00am Roger and I started the 6hr and Rhonda and her husband as a guide started the 24hr. Roger disappeared in to the rain and mist. A few laps later I came upon Rhonda and a new guide, who was directing her around roots, rocks, trees and the odd log, as the course weaved up and down the Mansfield Hills. About this time Roger came roaring by me as he lapped me. I followed him and we both made a bee line to the porta-pottys. The Chilly revenge! I heard a door slam and Roger was on his way again.I elected to go to the tent to change out of my wet gear into a dry outfit, as the rain was easing. It was all to no avail as the skies opened again and I was soaked in a few miles.
The trail was holding up extremely well so other than the mud sweat and rain in my eyes it was a pleasant run to the 6hr cut off time at 2:00pm. I crashed in my tent in my wet clothes and fell sound asleep!

The amazing Rhonda was still doing laps with her guides.

At 6:00pm Roger woke me for dinner and it had finally stopped raining.
Joe and his nice Natalee from Texas were doing the 24hr and although Joe continued to circulate the course, Natalee was having severe blister problems.

Rhonda came in with guide Lynn for dinner at around 7:00pm. She looked great considering she had been on her feet for 12hrs.Logistically she was ahead on her quest for a trail 100k record.

I changed in to my brightest out fit but guide Bronwyn had to leave for Toronto that night so we switched shifts and she arrived back with Rhonda after 10:00pm. After some food and a washroom break Rhonda and I were on our way about 10:30pm when the rain started again.
I had practiced running at night with a head lamp on the Hamilton trails, but this was totally different. The trail was single track in the deep woods, with large tree roots,rocks,logs and steep decent and climbs.
Rhonda was excellent, keeping two steps behind me responding instantly to my voice. The rain and fog caused the beam from my light to bounce back into my eye so I was forced to use the weaker flood light only and kept slamming into roots and stumps. Rhonda would hear my curse, and always seemed to avoid my pit fall!
Time seemed suspended as we moved along in our cocoon of light, my voice droning on and on, " Toes up root. toes up root, step up root, stump right, left turn (%##%##) step over log." I would hear Rhonda mumble "2.5 log" and realized that she had memorized the course.
Just before the half way aid station , I felt a change in Rhonda,. We had slowed to a crawl, she was dragging her leg. When we got to the Aid station she lay on the wet ground for a while and begged the attendant to pull on her leg. She thought it might relieve some of her pain. It was almost thirty minutes before we got moving slowly again. It was after 1:00am when we arrived back at the tent where her husband worked frantically on her hip and leg. We had been on the loop for 3hrs.
Roger left with Rhonda after 2:00am. She could walk but not run. We did the Math and realized she would not make the 100k before the cut off time at 8:00 am.
I set my alarm for 4:00am but could not sleep so I went and "bugged" Henri and super Ultra Mom in the kitchen tent in til they put me to work handing out hot soup and supplies to the runners arriving in their beams of their head lamps and then disappearing down the tunnel of darkness, to do one more lap, just one more lap! It choked me up, to beautiful for words!
Roger arrived in his own pool of light shortly after. Rhonda had stopped at 80k...
Joe & Natalee crashed at 24hrs
We were both relieved!!

Roger and I  returned to our tent as the sun was rising. Next to us 24hr Ultra runners Joe and Natalee were asleep in their tent their bare feet out in the rain. Joe had done 100+k and Natalee with blisters 70+k

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sulphur Springs
I had originaly planned to do the 50k, but life got in the way and I fell off my training so I signed up for the 25k. Roger was still running the 50K, he felt it was a better deal as it was the same price for twice the PAIN! 
Roger and I met up at the start line and since he was pacing for the 50k I was able to run with him for a while. This proved a mistake as he is much faster than me and although I felt fine at 25k I hit the wall with a thud at about 40k. I remember as I struggled along I could not help but notice how beautiful the trails were! The sun slanting through the leaves of the original hardwood forest, the  floor carpeted with flowers. The only distraction was the sound of a baby sobbing. I eventualy realised that that the sobbing was me. and that was OK!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Around The Bay 2012

I had debated with myself about running this race as I had not done the milage  to do well. I decided the Saturday before to run it as a long slow run to get some real miles in before the "Sulphur" in May. All when well as I lined up with the 3:30hr Bunny at the back of the Pack and set off at a comfortable 7 minute per K pace. All when well for about 2K, But then I spotted, Eugene, An old running buddy and I sprinted to catch him. We caught up on gossip about Old friends and realized we were running 6 minute K`s. Eugene also let it slip that he had started almost 10 minutes late so he was all ready 10 minutes ahead of me on chip time. It was getting warm and I started shedding clothes. I also discovered I had run out of water in my back pack, "Holds 1L " I have never been able to drink from a cup and run so, I by-passed the next two water  stations. I was just passed the big hill when the cramps hit my hamstrings. I could not lock  my knees at 28k so I just sort of shuffled a long in a half squat to the finish line. Eugene disappeared ahead looking faster than he did at the start! I can`t wait to see my finishing picture. It should be interesting! It is a day later and my Hams are sore but OK so it was dehydration that got me.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Chilly 1/2 a unexpected 3rd place

I ran this race as a LSR in prep for my goal race " Around the Bay" . The weather turned out to be an excellent  -2C with a gentle 25kpm wind from the West. I lined up with Eric the 2:30 pace bunny. The race course ran west for a few Klms and then turned back east along Lakeshore to Burloak at about 13k and then turned west again back along Lakeshore to the finish. I noticed Maya running with her guide Kaoline running west before I reached Burloak, about 20 minutes a head of me. I also met Paul D and Aranka B and we formed a nice little group behind Eric. At about 18k I was feeling really good and ran in at my planned race pace. I finished 2:29 still feeling good and felt the run was a great success. I was surprised when Paul D, EMailed me that I was 3rd in my age group. I checked and there  were only 3 runners in my age bracket Very surprising as there are at least 5 runners my age living here that can leave me in the dust.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Poems Al Purdy

see myself staggering through deep snow
lugging blocks of wood yesterday
an old man
almost falling from bodily weakness
— look down on myself from above
then front and both sides
white hair — wrinkled face and hands
it's really not very surprising
that love spoken by my voice
should be when I am listening 
yet there it is 
a foolish old man with brain on fire
stumbling through the snow

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Para-Nordic Winter Games

When I arrived at Deerhurst Inn near Huntsville Ontario, I expected a room with a row of bunk beds, In stead I found a beautiful five star Hotel. The service and food were excellent. The town of Huntsville went all out and closed their Main St. to traffic and trucked in tons off snow so that the sprint races could be held in the town centre. To my surprises, I was asked to Guide the Beautiful "Leona" in the sprints a B2 skier. In the warm up I discovered she was very fast and strong and she won a silver in the sprints. The next day I guided the talented Maya, see Pix, in the 4.7K classic race. I quickly discovered. She was much faster than last year. I was hard pressed to keep her in sight and fell several times. Maya unaware that I was on my face raced on,  in the ski tracks until she came to a curve and crashed.
 The same thing happened in the free style. where I could keep up by skating on her right shoulder until the final strait away when I caught an edge and fell. Maya heard me fall and stopped! She was 10 meters from the finish line.