Welcome back everybody. Thank you for joining me for my first 2015 posting. I won't keep you quite as long now since I have no specific race to tell you about. I just wanted to give a few insights into the 2014 season and what 2015 might hold.
I've been very quiet since my last 2014 Fall race report which unfortunately finished on a low note with an early DNF at the inaugural 100 mile Eastern States race after only 26 miles. That race at least gave me a real clue as to what some of the harder US races are likely to hold and I'm going to have to work harder on hill and quality distance training in order to successfully complete a 100 miler with such challenging elevation and terrain.
The season didn't go tremendously well and I took on fewer challenges than 2013 but I still had a few new races including the inaugural Laura Secord 100km challenge here in Ontario. The event is going to take place again in 2015, albeit in July instead of April and over a much shorter section of the Bruce Trail. I'm sure a few people will be thankful not to face the conditions we faced there in 2014. 18 hours 40 minutes for a 100km race is a VERY long time when you're freezing cold and wet and getting lost on side trails in early April.
Unfortunately Sulphur Springs 50 miles beat me again which leaves 2 DNF's at 50 miles and one success at a shade under 9 hours. I love the course but again, got carried away too quickly and too early and paid for it. I really want to do the 100 mile event there but don't know if I have it in me for 2015 considering how little training I'm getting in currently.
I had two happier races in 2014 which were the Creemore 50km race which I've done before. The weather co-operated and I shaved 30 minutes off my previous time but suffered with bad vomiting throughout and while my first lap went well and my hill training paid off, I flagged allot in the second lap. In 2015 they are offering a third lap to make 75km for those intrepid ultra runners who want to up their game. I don't think I'm game for this one in 2015 at that distance but then again, I said the same about the next race which I completed for the first time at the distance of 100km in Niagara for the Niagara ultra.
The Niagara ultra is right on my doorstep and I've done 3 of the 50km distances in past years with varying success depending on my fitness and the heat on the day. I've had a 4:08, a 5:01 and a 5:11 time in years past. For the 2014 100km I simply wanted a very long training run in preparation for Eastern States. It went surprisingly well since I consciously decided to slow it way down and actually finished the first lap in just under 5 hours, better than 2 of my 50km efforts. The mental strain of turning around to go out for another lap was not as bad as I expected and I think it's because Paul Chennery and I ran most of the first lap together and took it nice and easy. I thought I placed quite well considering I didn't treat it as a big race and actually probably did better by taking things easy. Maybe that's a lesson I need to learn overall - not to get carried away too quickly in the longer distances.
A few days after my disappointment at ES100 I had the great privilege of being one of the Guide Runners for one stage of Rhonda-Marie Avery's Bruce Trail oddessy. She is legally blind and myself and another guide runner had a full day's experience helping her on one of her final days prior to completing this arduous 900km run from North to South. I felt a great pride in giving something back to running, not just racing/running for myself - helping another talented and committed ultra runner to achieve a fantastic goal.
2015 Season and Training To Date
My 2015 training has really gone to hell in a handbag so to speak. I ended my gym membership hoping to save some bucks and figuring I'd just run outside.
There has now been weeks and weeks of heavy snow and very wintry temperatures. I didn't run for a week and finally joined our local 'Trail Apes' for a light run along the Bruce Trail on a Sunday morning. It was a brilliant sunny day with snowflakes glimmering and very crisp temperatures but having been stuck inside for many days it was a total relief to be outside and while the hour left me pretty winded, I was glad to finally be doing something I understand.
So what are my 2015 running plans?
I think I'll keep the schedule light and will look to do the Niagara 50km, the SS 50 miler or if I get some good Spring training attempt my first 100 there. I think the only other races I'd consider at this point in the OUS calendar would be Haliburton 50 or 100 mile and the Laura Secord 100km and possibly the 24 hour Dirty Girls.
Well, that's about all I can talk about now. Let me congratulate my friend Jack Kilislian for winning the overall men's OUS 2014 title. He completed all 14 races in the season which is a heck of a feat just in itself. And on the women's side my friend Kimberley won the overall women's OUS title. Awesome job to both of them. I wonder who will take the 2015 season!
I hope all your training is going well and hopefully we'll all be back outside soon to enjoy the trails. I hope you are going to try one or several of the amazing OUS races on offer in Ontario. Good luck to all of you and I look forward to seeing some of you out there soon.
Alex (the running dude)