Monthly Archives: September 2006

Vermont 50, 2006 ….. another beautiful romp in the woods

Well I started writing this about a week ago, and then again a couple of days before the race… without any success, due mainly to a chronic lack of focus, disguised as a lack of time. This lack of focus is all over my little life at the moment, a sort of scattered inability to get on top of stuff, I wrestle with it but come away just slightly less than satisfied, not beaten just not totally happy with the results. Ho Humm
As I type this I would love to share my album of the moment ……Analyse from the album “The Eraser” by Thom Yorke , so I just click the little itunes icon on my cool little blog software and it adds a link…. too cool.

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Oh yeah the race….. So as I was going to say before I got sidetracked.
So my week building up the race was exactly the worst way to go about prepping for this type of event. Away from home, hotels, strange beds, minimal sleep, all the wrong foods, nothing in the way of taper/easy runs, 4 flights [gladly short ones] and the stress that comes with all this job related crap… ho humm. I tried to take the Friday off work but the phone just kept on ringing as I raced like a fiend to get my shit together and pack for 3 days camping…. I won’t combine this type of event with camping again….. just too too much to think about.
Got to the campsite at Mt Ascutney National Park around 6pm and had the tents up, a fire lit and a pretty good camp dinner on the table by 7:30…. We were all exhausted and turned in for the night at about 9pm. The rain started about 2 am and woke us all up again…. we all slept on & off until about 8.
Bacon & eggs …… the absolute best way to celebrate Rosh Hosannah. Matthew’s dad would be proud. The rain continued.

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The rain kept up until about lunchtime. We went down to the Race start/Resort to pick up the race package which included another great Ibex beanie, a good looking T and my number. I got to chat a little with Mike the race director and also with the assistant director of the VT 100…. but we’ll talk about this another time. Lunch was had at Bellows Falls, quintessential Vermont…. I could so get into this lifestyle, I love these people. back to the tent, packed my drop bags and took a drive to the top of the mountain, a favorite launch for hang-glidders. We couldn’t see a thing for the mist. Tommy decided that this would be the absolute best spot to see just how fast he could get his bike to go. We followed down in the van, its a 3 mile winding road and he topped out at just a little under 60 km/hr…. the kid is fearless! he wiped out at the bottom doing about 40 when he tried to brake… He’s very proud of his banged up knee.

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Race Day. Out of bed at 4:20, thankfully with no rain, just very very humid. Yuck! Went through all the usual rituals of coffee etc. Shared a little espresso with the lone camper next door, a runner that I ran with for a while last year. Mitchell, a new yorker…. I am becoming more and more aware that we are a very small sub-culture. Lots of familiar faces. Got the rest of the gang up at 5 and down to the line we went. Race meeting and check in at 5:45, bikes everywhere = heaven for Tommy, you can feel the adrenaline… very tangible. The bikes have a staggered start starting at 6 through 6:20. We got to go at 6:30. One last trip to the john, where I met up with Meredith a CR buddy from the “virtual” side of the sport.
The actual race was not really that eventful, and not nearly as exciting as last year’s adventure. I knew what was needed, had a good idea of pace and nutrition and was sure I had an OK finish in me. I was also aware of starting out feeling tired and I found the humidity just a little uncomfortable.
The first couple of aids stations came and went, I was feeling fairly loose, I kept an eye on my heart-rate which seemed high at around 150 even on the flats, I walked all the hills and tried to gain some pace on the down-hills [which is code for “i love to barrel down the hills as fast as I can] Aid station 3 is at about 12 miles, where I sucked down a chocolate ensure, changed my shirt to something cooler and was on my way pretty quickly.
I could try and be poetic about the Vermont scenery, but it just wouldn’t do it justice…. you gotta go.
I think it was just after aid station 4 that rain started, we’d be going for about 4 hours by now and the heavens just opened. Those huge rain drops that you only get in a thunderstorm, I enjoyed the freshness and having the salt from my sweat washed out of my eyes. It felt good. really good! What didn’t feel so good was an hour later when it was still coming down and the trails were turning to soup. By this time I had hooked up with “John the Shuffler” , the dude that put me straight at Jay when I could just about manage a brisk cramped walk….. we laughed and tried to pick up the pace imagining the wet t-shirts of some of the better looking fitter runners that had passed us. Aid station 7, 32 miles and a change of shoes socks a couple of snickers

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…. and I was on my way. Albeit without John who I think didn’t bother to stop…. At this point I felt happy to have dry feet again and was back in a pair of old faithful Cascadias [not 100% sure about the new model, tendency towards blisters?] but this happiness sort of faded into a bit of a low patch which may have been low sugar or something, who knows. Anyway I was still moving along at a fair pain-free pace and enjoying the ride. At this point I’d been going for about 7.5 hours…. Aid station 8 was the turning point. I confess I slipped a couple of Advil, and decided that I was going to have to dig a little deeper if I wasn’t going to disappoint myself. 8 miles to go and I knew I still had a fair amount of energy left. The plan was to see if I could catch a couple of tired runners somewhere up ahead of me. The running became more and more fluid and i found myself laughing as I even ran a few of the up-hills. Anyway by the time I got the last aid station I had caught 12 runners that had passed me at some point, a very satisfying feeling. Three tiny miles to go and I was feeling better than I had for about 8 hours…. I had kissed goodbye to improving on last year long before I even started, but I finished stronger passing another 2 runners [who were actually running and looking quite strong] and then finally one more walker about 20 yards from the finish…. I probably looked totally demented but man did ever feel good!

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I got a nice shiny medal, BBQ…… man the beer looked good Ho Humm. Got changed and was on my way home half an hour later.

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The strangest part is the detachment from reality I get after one of these things….. it’s just so hard to get back into the reality of life. I just want to go run some more. Is it the weekend yet?

two posts in one day…. a first, I think

So the other news of this week was the birth of 9 absolutely perfect little Portuguese Water Dogs. 4 males & 5 females…. some wavy some curly all beautiful. I am third on the list of choice, after the breeder and one other.
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All things being equal, I get to bring my new running partner home at the beginning of November…… I can’t wait. I can almost smell that wet puppy smell from here… I feel like a big kid, priceless!!

On the subject of running: the taper continues. 8 days until race day….. it’s upon me again but nowhere near as scary as the first time, but that’s true of any distance….. I just came in from the most perfect couple of hours on Mont-Royal in the autumn sunshine, I ran to the mountain this morning which adds about 50 minutes to my workout and although I really don’t care for this added asphalt element the distance felt about right. +/- 14 miles
I can happily report that the legs feel strong & pain-free. I confess to having not modified my diet to balance with the drop in milage…. and last night’s Thai-fest left me feeling just a squeak heavy & bloated. Ah well… what’s a boy to do.

feeling useless….

So here I am clicking around on my little old mac with my headphones on listening to an old instrumental album by Bruce Cockburn trying not to wake anybody up on a misty Saturday morning, enjoying tea and indulging in my stuff. When I came across the above link. You clicked on it, right? What did you feel? does somebody else words ever stop you in your tracks? just like that? Do we really care about politics? the word simply moves us on to the next subject… we really should be paying more attention and voicing an opinion. Otherwise we might as well just toss the keys to the NRA. This is where the problem lies, with you and I. We do nothing, zero. We just whine about our politicians and feel very sad for the families of the victims all the while allowing these people and the legal system as it stands to put death in our schools. And the US is oh so far away…. yeah right?
This was the week that Dawson College became more than just a Montreal school. Kimveer Gill will get his name remembered. A sad day, a sad sick young man. I prefer not speculate on the young mans mental health or how society, the community or his family failed him, and us prior to this weeks incident but I do feel that I have a responsibility to my family to write to the Minister of Justice [serving on committees for Domestic Affairs; Canada-U.S; and Security, Public Health and Emergencies I’m not quite sure what I’ll write but I’ll think of something. It’s probably worth mentioning the fact that the Rt. Honourable Irwin represents TMR our riding….. but I sure as hell didn’t put him there! You know, if we all started voting with our conscience something might just happen….. And if I haven’t totally bored you to death with my view of the world of politics as seen from my sofa, then you must waste another hour on the Larouche movement. Bush & Cheney have no right to be in office.

… a few odds & sods worth mentioning

So last night’s movie rental is well worth a mention. Following is low budget, noir-type film with a beautifully warped ending. Same director as Momento which I’ve yet to see.
Tonight’s ride on the mountain is also mention-worthy…. broke in my new bike on the mountain with Tom, only wiped out a couple of times. It seems lighter than my stolen Divinci, I love the disk brakes and the full suspension seems to make the steep climbs more do-able. There an adjustment that needs to be made on the gears as I lost my chain a couple of times.
I should have been running I guess….. I had scheduled to get up early and go to the mountain but it was one of those rare pull up the blankets, ignore the clock and go back to sleep sort of mornings. Happens sometimes. Yesterdays run was OK, while Tom played football I ran around Ile Bizard, about 18 kms at a nice steady 8:10 ish pace. Friday night I just ran my usual 6,5 miles around the block. Not a huge week for the milage, but that’s OK with me as I can’t see that any more hard fibre breaking workouts will add anything for the VT50 … call it taper I guess.
Today I spoke with the Portuguese Water Dog breeder to get an update on the pregnant mother of my new running partner…. pictured below pre-siring…

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the puppies are due next weekend and according to a radiography…..[ yes they will do it for dogs too!] she has at least 8 little ones…. I can’t wait I’m so excited.

nothing really that blog-worthy….. ho humm

So it was one of those nothing days. My mood has been ambivalent…. or just not into it, but I suspect the culprit is my Cuisinart coffee grinder which suddenly ceased to function two days ago….. no caffeine for two whole days has a really unsettling effect when you’ve been used to at least 6 x 10 ounces per day for at least 25 years…. well never less than four cups a day. Tea just isn’t cutting it, even the really thick dark brown stuff that sticks to the side of your mug,not to mention your teeth. But alas,I caved in and bought some ground stuff at Provigo….. back to normal in the morning. Meanwhile the grinder is under warranty and will be back [or replaced within 2 weeks]….. man it must be a slow day in my world if I can sit on the sofa and waffle on about my coffee grinder…. I know I should be doing something productive.
So I was supposed to run a little this evening but , well given my blah sort of mood I needed no more excuse, other than Matthew to not do it…. we took our new bikes down to the new ice-cream emporium at the end of the street…. I’ll maybe go tomorrow….. and then run early Saturday & Sunday…… and then start my taper for Vermont50 for real.

Tommy has a football[handball] game this weekend and then I’ll definitely be taking my new toy up a mountain…
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I had no intention of buying a new bike a couple of weeks ago when we went to get Matthew his 11th birthday gift….. but you know how it is when you spot a bargain….. I was going to replace my stolen DiVinci Cactus in the spring, but all the best deals are at the end of the season, right?…. I’m not sure about the full suspension, having allows ridden a hardtail, but I ‘m sure this’ll be a fun bike…..

…. and Tuesday’s the trip to the gym.

I’m still not quite ready to start the taper yet…. well not in my head anyway. So what should have been a 6 mile recovery run turned into an 8 mile LT type run with 7 x 1/4 mile intervals…… felt good 56:37 (7:05)… which isn’t too shabby given last weekend’s 30 odd miles of hills. I’ll rest tomorrow

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and as I write this the beeb is playing the Bonzo Dog Dodah band…… a true nugget of 60-70’s Brit Uber-culture… could I be pining for home. I’m wondering what was playing in Canada around then….. gotta wonder
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A couple of note-worthy movies that you should rent on a rainy Sunday evening….

and this little bit of culture is oh so worth a mention

Liliy Allen Knock em out