This past Saturday I participated in a 100 mile relay - the Sulphur Springs Race. In addition they have 100 mile ultra, 50 miler, 50k, 25k and a 10k. There were 8 on my squad including Beast and Peter Ames. I had the first 20k leg which started at 6:00am! This presented some challenges. First I had to get up at 4:00am to get coffee and nutrition in so that I could everything in "motion" - namely my bowels. Mission accomplished and off to the race I went. The atmosphere at the race was awesome - the ultra crowd is a pretty crazy bunch who enjoy themselves in a masochistic way. I found my group, got my bib and had a short warmup. Now the terrain in Dundas Valley can easily be described as HILLY! It is 90% trail and when you;re not going up you're going down. I started the run and focused on a group of 4 who were going at a pace I wanted. I managed to stay with them til about the 7k mark and a massive hill with switchback where they started pulling away. I still had them in sight up to about 9.5k and I was then on my own. I went through the 9k aid station in 42 minutes which was pretty quick on this course. I struggled a bit between 10-14k as the pounding on my quads began to hurt. I got a second wind after 15k and I worked the uphills as best as I could until I reached a trio of successive hills named the Three Sisters. These were just too steep to run up so I walked as fast as I could up them. Once up I knew there was a long stretch of downhill coming and I wanted to push the pace over that section. I fell into a good rhythm over this stretch and this left only the long climb back to the finish where I would be switching with the next relay member. I gutted it out and hit the line in 1:41. I initially predicted I would finish in 1:55 so I was a little off! The Beast performed well in the mid-day heat and Peter ran strong as usual. If you get the chance so this race - you'll have a blast!
Here I am after just finishing my leg.
Check this sequence of photos taken around the 13k mark - I look like a knob running through a meadow of daisies! Dork alert!! It's hard to tell by the photos but I'm giving the hang-loose salute while trying not trip on roots.
Our annual Muskoka Training Weekend took place over the Victoria Day weekend and it definitely did not disappoint. Sara and I, John (Beast) and Sheila, Susan, and Don and Linda made the trip. As usual, the traffic leading up north was busy but not too bad. Above is a vehicle we saw on highway 11 near Orillia. It was two wood-carved bears with a mock machine gun pointed at whatever car was behind it! Too funny!
Of course no trip up north would be complete without a stop to Webers. Sara and I had the usual - two cheeseburgers each along with fries (we added a chocolate shake for variety). Beast and Sheila met us there for the feast. From there we made our way to the Clyffe House.
The Annex would be our home for the weekend. Although it was cooler when we arrived on the Friday, the inside of the Annex was literally like a meat locker - it was damn cold!! We sat out on the porch where it was much warmer.
We all had naps (which was awesome!) a short while after arriving. Don and Linda and Susan had not arrived yet. I woke from my slumber and decided to get a 5 mile run in while the others slept. I brought the camera to capture some of the Muskoka beauty. Here's the Port Sydney dam with its smooth rock and a rapids.
Etched along the road leading to the highway is a nice trail.
Mary Lake was calm on this cool day. The rest of the weekend would look very different as it got hot with zero clouds in the sky.
As the day went on the cottage wasn't getting warm quick enough so we made a fire. Like a dog this Dork lied right next to it.
The next day greeted us with sunshine and warm temperatures. Susan, Beast, Don and I were doing the Muskoka 70.3 loop. The round trip from Port Sydney is 72 miles (Imperial Man strikes again!). We got the customary group shot before heading out.
We were definitely in high spirits as the day was absolutely spectacular.
Here I am in the "Cone of Silence", the Pyramid of Serenity", the "Isosceles of Peace" - the area behind the Beast on a windy day. Occasionally from this vantage point one may be annointed with droplets of Holy Cerveloesque sweat - they say it's good luck in some cultures. We had a great ride with our mandatory stop in Dorset at Robinson's General Store to reload on beverages. We met the rest of the ladies there and they decided to create another mandatory stop in Lake of Bays for some butter tarts - new traditions taking birth, I like it!
With the long ride complete we retreated to the dock for some sun n suds (Sara will likely reprimand me for the bikini shot - I'll take the hit). There were no clouds and by this time it was 30C plus!
Hey, check it out, Dork on a Dock!
Here's the rest of the crew taking some well-deserved RnR. It was relaxing and the company was awesome.
While the lake was still frigid, Beast and I "iced" our legs in preparation for the next day's long run. We waded further out and dunked under - it was then that our niblets became nublets and we became women (we started thinking about shopping and making a Honey-Do list as a result).
The scenery was stunning - notice the geese family enjoying the day.
I think Beast was confused by the previous day's cool weather and it sent him post-ride in a rare second hibernation.
Or it could have been the "sedatives" he took to relax.
Check out this spread! The food was delicious and plentiful and the beverages and conversation kept flowing.
After a good night's rest, we got up to another gorgeous day and set out on our long run. As an added surprise, Linda "#1 Jays Booster", "Fifty Shades of Sheila" and the "Belizian Wonder" (Sara) joined us on bikes - we would soon become involved in the Tour de Port Sydney!
Sheila "Hammer to the Anvil" and her machine.
During the opening kilometre the GC "Heads of State" were gracious with the press.
The team leaders were well supported by their domestiques.
Linda suffered an early mechanical but Don's catlike mechanical skills limited time lost to the peloton.
Linda put the hammer down after going into her suitcase of courage and made her way to the head of the pack. It was then that things went "argy bargy".....
....as Sheila "Blacksmith to the Forge" Ceko made an early break. The domestiques were clearly caught off guard.
No this is not as a result of a mechanical - this is just Sara wanting me to push her bum up the hill. As domestiques we have to be prepared to support our leaders at all times - bum feeling is just one of our many duties.
After more dock time we headed to Deerhurst's Eclipse restaurant for a nice dinner. We were all basking in the glory of a job well done from the day's activities.
Hey, check it out, Dork at Deerhurst!
The scenery was, ho-hum, beautiful yet again. Here's the lake where the Muskoka 70.3 swim ends.
Looking the other direction towards the golf course.
We were all content. Great food, wine, conversation. We capped it all off with a visit to Kawartha Dairy for some awesome ice cream - yummy!
We've been doing this Muskoka Weekend for many years and this was one for the record books - the company, the laughs, the weather and the training were incredible. I look forward to doing it all again next year!!
So I've been in Windsor since Monday night for work. With the nice weather I got out for a run with camera along the waterfront path network. The path is littered with sculptures and monuments - it's a pretty cool setup.
Canadian Korean War Memorial.
Beast - is that you?!
Luckily this behemoth was caged!
Canadian Vietnam War Memorial
I put this together mid-run.
Famed Joe Louis Arena, home of the Red Wings, and site of more than a few Stanley Cups. Sadly, the Leafs cannot boast the same thing.
Gorgeous weather and the long weekend looks much the same - get out there and enjoy!