Hello to everybody. I hope your various winter training has gone well and you're looking forward to the 2013 running season.
It's been a few months since I last updated you with how things are going for me. The retail store where I make my livelihood has been closed for 1.5 months due to landlord renovations which has been highly frustrating although this is the quietest sales time of the year so it's best it happened now and it has given me extra time to put in some miles.
Now, on to the running. . . unlike some of you, I probably don't do enough cross-training through the winter months. I used to cycle allot as well as run but my thoughts are that leg strength will develop from off-road running and with high mileage I don't really have the energy or time for additional cross-training. I read about people that keep up their core strength with weights and other activities but honestly I can't really get into weights - it bores me too much.
Mileage has been good and consistent. I've been racking up 60-82 mile weeks for the last two months and my long runs are up to 21 miles, sometimes twice a week. I find any longer than this on a treadmill and I'm ready for a padded room. I went to Sulphur Springs on my own one weekend recently and ran into Elise McGuire, another OUS ultra runner who had just finished the course with her training friend. They said it was like a sheet of ice and I concur. It was extremely icy and although I only wiped out once giving my elbow a delightful crack, I was in constant trepidation - once you get tired your reaction times go down and you are more at risk of slipping. It was a sunny day and having to stare at the ice just ahead of you for two hours is a real mental strain. Since then I've decided not to go back until things warm up a bit. I don't mind running in the snow and went to the course a few times with snow and loved it - it's great exercise - but ice is a different matter. I was very sore from that run the next day.
I figure there is another week or two left of snow and by the start of April hopefully things will be nice enough to do most of my runs outside. Then I can get to the off-road trails and build up the mileage to a marathon before my first race. We did have a mild few days last week and I went out for a 10 mile loop from my house and it went very well and had me feeling good about my level of fitness. The only problem was a dollar-sized blood blister which developed on the pad of my foot which has left me now limping around and finding training runs extremely painful. It resulted from the running shoe insert wearing through at that particular spot. I was near the end of the run and rather than addressing it carried on which was a mistake. I'm glad I was not in the middle of an ultra race.
Speaking of races, after researching a bit and looking at the upcoming 2013 OUS (Ontario Ultra Series) races and listening to some of your thoughts, I have entered the first OUS race of the season, Pick Your Poison (PYP) 50km at the end of April at Horseshoe Valley. It is four laps of the skiing hills and no doubt will be challenging but hopefully a good training run for Sulphur Springs 50 miler in late May. I want to treat PYP like a race but I think I should start easy, get a few laps done and evaluate my energy levels so I have something in the tank. It is a new course for me so I'm really curious about it. The last thing I want is to start the season with a DNF or a big bonk on the 4th lap.
I'm hoping that this year my cross country ultra times improve. I guess each one you do you learn from and I guess I'm at that stage where I still have many OUS runs to try for the first time, re-visit some others and try to correct past faults or set goals. While I have dreams of completing some of the big USA ultras, for now I'm setting my goals closer to home. After PYP is Sulphur Springs 50 miler as I mentioned, then I'm contemplating the 6- hour Kingston run put on by Sri Chinmoy, followed by the Niagara 50km ultra and then the big one (for me), the 24 hour Dirty Girls. For some reason this race holds allot of appeal to me. I had considered doing the Sulphur Springs 100 miler this year but after DNF'ing the 50 miler last year I want some redemption. Plus, I think it would be good to complete this distance before moving up. And, I also like the thought of completing a long race which is based on time rather than distance. That way I don't have to run scared, worrying about if I'll make the 100 miler to get a buckle and can run how I feel and take one loop at a time.
After Dirty Girls I have no set races and will see how it goes. I really want to do the Run for the Toad but depending on how it all goes this summer I may want to consider the Haliburton 100 miler or the 24 hour indoor track Ottawa Sir Chinmoy race with the Vulture Bait 50km race in October as the final race of the season. Anyway, there is a long time between now and then and anything is possible.
I've been reading many running blogs, watching YouTube videos of ultras and getting inspired. While I enjoy reading the blogs of the winners in these events, my true inspiration is from all the other participants because I feel more like them. I'm not saying that the winners are any less deserving or don't hurt just as much at points of their races, but somehow I feel more of a connection to someone like me who is just starting at these ultras, making stupid mistakes or just underestimating the challenge and somehow bounces back. I like to hear the race from their perspective, their preparations, the journey to the start line, the atmosphere and how it unfolded for them. I also love scouring the past results of races I've been in and looking at the names and times, cross referencing and seeing if I remember a particular person from their name or big or any photos I come across. I obviously have far too much time on my hand! I don't know why you come visiting my blog but I hope it inspires you to try a new race or distance or set a challenge for yourself.
Well, I think that is about all you want to take in now so I'll leave you until my PYP pre-post race report. Happy running and thank you for visiting.