Saturday, July 7, 2012

Canyon Country Challenge - Race Report

The race:
Canyon Country Challenge - 5K, 10K, 15K
Dorion, Ontario

I completed the CCC 15K in June 2011 and I was excited to be back again at one of my favourite races.  Why my favourite?

It’s the community spirit.  Dorion is a tiny community with a big heart.  It’s a community of go-getters.  The race is a fundraiser for student scholarships (more about that here) and it draws walkers and non-runners as well as competitive athletes from Thunder Bay and the region.

Every runner gets a prize.  The lunch after the race is spectacular and home made.  While there are certificates for the winners, the focus is on celebration for all.

Last year, the race was grueling in the hot June sun.  This year we were blessed with fog and drizzly weather – perfect for a 15K.  The home base for the race is Dorion Public School – which doubles as the Dorion Community Centre.  The school is immaculate and the washrooms are so clean (in comparison to some races I have been to!).

This year, I recognized several of my students volunteering at the race.  The race provides an opportunity for secondary school students to accumulate some of those 40 hours of volunteer work they need to graduate.

This year, my former cyclist son came along with the intention of running the 10K, but the need to get home and break in his new work boots before flying into the bush limited him to the 5K race.  I do appreciate his dedication to always supporting as many local events as he can, even if he can’t stay for the full event.

The mass start was low key, and I reminded myself to stick to my race plan and not get caught up in running to fast with those running a shorter distance from the beginning.  Pre-running the course taught me that this race is uphill both ways on the 15K course!

The cliffs and the fields are quite stunning, and even the up and down into the bridge over the stream wans’t nearly as painful in the cooler weather this year.

I was past the 10K turnaround before meeting the first 15k runner – always a good thing for those of us who are no longer fast!

The last 2K were a killer for me but they were flat, so the Dixie Chicks (“I’m not Ready to Make Nice”) on repeat kept me mad and moving fast.  I was happy with my time (1:33:04) for the 15K considering the terrain and my lack of training and it is a good benchmark to improve on.

The lunch at this event is spectacular and home made in the community.  Last year, I was closer to the front of the lunch line and managed to scoop some local garden asparagus and rhubarb crisp.  The buns (an forgive me for forgetting the baker’s name) are famous and amazing!  This year it was vegetarian lasagna with lentils and everyone was raving about it.

I was lucky to be called near the start of the draw and I had my pick of many prizes donated by the community and the sponsors.  I picked up a Pampered Chef cookie press for the school.  (The fact that it had dried cookie dough on it shows the community support – lots of people contribute prizes).

My son didn’t stay for the meal, but he was pretty impressed with the 12-year-old Eric Osala who won the 5K race.  They had almost a 2 minute gap on the field.  We will have to look out for Eric in the future.

This is a fabulous homey event that brings out everyone in the community.  Watch for it again next year.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Canyon Country 15K Preview

Today's long run was a practice for next week's Canyon Country Challenge 15 K.

The run will begin at the beautiful Dorion Public School and Community Centre.

I have pictures of this beautiful field from last year's race.  Last year it was full of flowers and this year it is full of solar panels!

I didn't even notice last year that the turnaround for the 15 K is at the road to the suspension bridge.

This bridge is at the bottom of the steepest section of the course.  A week after the torrential rain the creek is still very turbid.

This is why we call it canyon country!  Some of Ontario's highest cliffs are found here.

The stats for today.  I see they are quite a bit better than my 16K a month ago.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

16K Today

It was a perfect day for a long run.  I decided to just do it around the house - a great way to have lots of fluids and food ready on my pass bys.

My back was an issue for the entire run, so I took a few more breaks to stretch than I normally would.

I listened to my new favourite podcast - Marathon Training Academy - for much of the run, and I learned about the importance of grabbing carbs and protein right after your workout, to capitalize on building up your body's ability to store glycogen for future races.

First, though, a look at last night's amazing supermoon.  Unfortunately we have a lot of cloud tonight so I won't get another look.

The leaves are just starting to come out.  I hope that doesn't mean the black flies are going to follow!

The creek is still pretty high, even though we have had no rain for quite awhile.

And the stats for the day:

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tempo Intervals - Week 1

I did it.

I trained tonight.

It was a late night at work, but I put it together.

My plan was a 1 km warmup then a 6 km tempo run @ 6 min/km pace, then a 1 km cool down.

All went according to plan except I forgot that I have a back injury, and treating that right required a break after each tempo kilo.

So, all in all not bad for a midweek run.

I did the  8 km out and back down to the end of the Bass Lake Rd.  Not very exciting, but a few things to share.

This is just a shot of the cutest beagle in the world being his tired self first thing this morning.

Aren't my new trail running shoes just amazing?

Can you find the grouse?  Three of these out on the run tonight.

An supersized ant hill.

After that run, I wish someone would but pie and coffee in my mailbox.

The Stats:

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

145 Days to Go

On Sunday evening (April 29) I watched Spirit of the Marathon on RadX and it reminded me of how long I have been waiting to run another marathon - of all the aborted attempts and all the failures.

I need a win.

Was it fate that put me behind this truck on the way to work yesterday?

I couldn't get very excited about the Miles with the Giant marathon when it was a double half-marathon, but there is a new course this year that has no repeated loops in it.  It's exciting.

So I have hauled out good ol' Hal Higdon's best advice again, and I will give it another go.

Did my first 5K in the rain with the beagle tonight.  I saw two beautiful big deer between the bridge and the 4-way.  My back held up for the first 3 K and then it was tweaky and sore.  I need to take my meds before heading out to control the swelling.

Now, will I nail down day two tomorrow?

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Getting ready for the 10 miler

No photos today.

After the most astoundingly early spring weather, we stepped back a bit today, back into a bit of winter, with strong winds and -1 at 4 p.m., as well as some snowflakes in the air.

I chose to do my 7 mile (11 km) run down on the east side of the Sibley Peninsula.  I was exploring, and once again I didn't quite get where I wanted to go, but it's all good.

Here are the stats.