Catching Up

john_catchingupGuess it’s time for a new blog post.

Pick Your Poison
After Laura Secord 100K in April, I decided to run Pick Your Poison 50K in early May. The plan was to use this as a steady training run for the Sulphur Springs 100 Miler later that month.

The good news is that I didn’t go into crazy race mode and managed to stick to a steady pace, finishing fourth overall. I lost some time playing with my laces on the third loop (my fingers were too cold to tighten my shoes) but I didn’t get too worked up about it. I did tweak my knee when my leg fell through some snow into a hole, but it didn’t really cause me trouble until after the race.

Big thanks to Adam Hill and Heather Dunlop for organizing a great event, especially given all the snow remaining on the course.

Sulphur Springs
After PYP, I lost a couple of weeks of heavy training due to a sore knee. At first I figured I would have to skip the race, but the knee improved enough that I decided to give it a go. I felt great for the first 50K, but then the knee started to flare up a bit, so I got concerned. About 63K in, I decided it wasn’t worth risking further injury, so I dropped from the race. This was unfortunate as I was sitting in third place overall and the top two runners would soon drop out as well after racing at a blistering pace early on. Oh well, better to err on the side of caution and stay healthy.

Niagara
My plan for June was to run a marathon at the Niagara Ultra. I haven’t run a road race or marathon in over six years, so I was looking forward to trying something different. I also wanted to run a qualifying time for Boston as I’m tired of people asking me if I’ve run it. Unfortunately, I had unexpected neck surgery the week before the race to remove large cyst, so I had to skip the event. I also lost some training time while my neck healed. The good news is that the cyst wasn’t cancerous.

john_catchingup2TNFEC Ontario
After missing out on Niagara, I decided to run the TNFEC Ontario 50M in Collingwood. I don’t like running in the heat, so my plan was to just use this as a fun training run or “B” race. This was my first time running at Blue Mountain, so I was surprised by the big climbs available in Ontario. I thought the event was well organized and I enjoyed the great views offered at the top of the tall hills. It was also nice to chill out and run with some friends throughout the day. I think I finished eighth and first in my age category (the nice thing about getting older and slower is you have more chances for prizes).

Eastern States
When some spots came available for the sold-out Eastern States 100 Miler in Pennsylvania this August, I made a spontaneous decision to enter. I knew it would be tough, but the race crushed me. Toughest thing I’ve ever done. I blew my quads early in the race from braking so much on the long, steep and rocky descents because they seriously frightened the heck out of me. Then came the rattlesnakes and the bear followed by heavy rain and blisters and then a few hours stuck at an aid station shaking uncontrollably with hypothermia despite being covered with seven blankets. Somehow I managed to crawl to the finish. I never, ever want to experience that much pain and discomfort again. The race was well organized and the volunteers were amazing, but I was ill prepared for this event. I think I was only 26th, but considering I thought I was hospital-bound for a while, I’m just glad I’m alive and got my finisher’s belt buckle. There were only 72 finishers out of 199 registered runners, so a very challenging course for sure.