Friday, April 28, 2017

Poison picked

It's race season!


In my infinite bloody wisdom, though, I chose to kick it off with the first race of the OUTRace Series - Pick your Poison, held at the Heights of Horseshoe just north of Barrie, ON.

An effin' ski hill. You'd think I'd learn.

I raced the 25k there in 2015 and it was one of the toughest things I've ever done. I got my arse thoroughly kicked by the relentless hills, despite a bit of tapering and a lot of hill work over the winter. The end of my race report said, and I quote:

"I'm virtually certain it would take a drastic bout of either amnesia or insanity to make me try the full 4-loop 50k here."

So guess what I'm going to attempt tomorrow, on absolutely no taper at all?


Since it's supposed to just be a long, supported training day for Sulphur Springs next month, I've actually been building mileage this week. After taking a full 6 days with zero running at the beginning of April due to injury and overtraining, I've been trying to tread a narrow path between putting in the work to get me ready for 100k and avoiding re-injury or exhaustion.

10 percent rule my butt.

I managed a pair of decent back-to-back trail runs last weekend - 21.5k at Huron Natural Area on Saturday and then another 19.5k (which took just as long due to the mud and climbing) at Short Hills Provincial Park on Sunday. Everything held together for me, so I even put in a double run on Monday 'cause I'm CRRRRRRAZY like that.

I also got my new pair of precious Leadville 2's broken in at Short Hills

This will be my peak training week for the Sulphur Springs 100k, and while I won't hit the 100km week I wanted before I was sidelined, I've been able to put together a pretty solid week of running.

I'll end up with 128.89km in 8 days, assuming I finish the 50k tomorrow.

Tanker has been amazing about trying to reassure me that I'm stronger than I was the last time I attempted to run at the Heights of Horseshoe, and I know he's right - I still considered flat, groomed rail trails "training" for these events back then, whereas I've spent the last year and a bit training mostly on hilly singletrack. So really, I shouldn't have too much to fear...but still..

Finishing hill from 2015. I'll have to run - or limp - down this thing 4 times.

I know the downhills at Pick Your Poison are quad killers, so I'll be trying to take it easy on them to save my legs for the later stages of the race. If all the hills were on the (non-technical) ski runs themselves it might not be so daunting, but I heard they actually added more singletrack to the course last year, and the off-piste climbs look more like this:

Photo from Canuck Carl's 2016 race report

While my ankle has been feeling quite strong after a few weeks of rehab exercises and I do intend to tape it for additional support, there are so many opportunities to damage it again in those woods. My wonky hip/glute and quad were fine all through last weekend, but they'll face their biggest challenge in months on the climbs. I have prioritized sleep and only done very easy strength work this week as a compromise for not tapering, but I have to hope that my body is up to the task.

Visualizing success.

I need to keep things very easy from the start - tomorrow is not about racing, though there is a clock and a finish line. I'm simply there to put in a lot of time on my feet at an easy pace to prepare for the long haul next month. The course cut-off is 8 hours and you must start your 4th loop before 6 hours have passed, otherwise you will be considered a DNF. I "raced" the 25k in 3h10m two years ago, and fully intend to be out there for at least 7.5hrs this time. There will be a fair number of friendly faces on course, sunshine and maybe even some buds and flowers in the woods, so I'm trying to think of it as just a long day of hiking with occasional bits of running. That's not so hard, now is it?

The things I'll do for a jar of honey and (hopefully) a pair of socks, I tell you..


  1. A jar of honey AND a pair of socks!

    It was so great to see you out there - and you always have the BEST running posts around! All the best at Sulphur!


Go on, have at me!