Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sulphur Springs 25k and 100 Mile Crewing

Well.  This was a hot weekend.  The weather got up to ~33C, 38C with humidity on Saturday.

We knew going in it would be a tough ask.  I was there to crew for Joe, but he was saying that he wanted to practice self-reliance, so I wasn't going to have much to do.  So I registered for the 25k so that I'd have something to do, and to motivate me to run some more.

Neither Joe or I had great training going into this, but at least I was only running 25k!  Joe was running 100 miles!

Looking at my Garmin Connect, since April 1st (the race was May 28) I had run 11 times, all 5ks except for one 14k in April and one 14.79k the Sunday before the race on the Sulphur course to check that I'd actually be able to complete the 25k.  It went well, if slow, so I was set.

I got to bed later than I wanted Friday night (after 9:30) for a 3:30 wake up - I was at Joe's before 4 am and we hit the road for Ancaster.  They were paving the QEW and we ended up behind a truck going 40k/hour!  But eventually that cleared.

I may not have slept much, but I slept more than Joe, who went to bed at 11 and got up at 3 am!  Yikes!  He said he slept well though.

We got to the race site and Joe got set up in the 100 miler tent:

Before I knew it it was 6 am and the 50 mile and 100 mile start had happened - memories of 2013!

Mom came out for the 25k race which started at 7:30 am along with the 50k.  It was really nice to have her support.  Kelly B was running the 25k too and Kelly W and Barb were running the 50k.  I also saw Gord before his 50 miler start.  Don was there with Kelly W as well so it was great to see him.

And I ran into Margaret from work, who was running the 25k for the second year in a row!  We would see each other on course and high five, it was really nice, and it was great to see Kelly B on course too.

The first part of the 25k went fine, faster than expected, though I was fairly comfortable.  I was eating and taking an S!Cap every 3k, so a bit over 30 minutes, but close enough I figured.  I don't think I was drinking enough though, I drank to thirst but in those sorts of temps with that sweat rate I needed to do more.

Heading out onto the 20k loop after the initial 5k spur I ran with Jessica for a bit, this was her first trail race.  I said it was a good first one as Sulphur isn't that technical, she found technical - just imagine what she'd think of some other courses!!!!  She was very nice.  After she went ahead I ran with Cynthia for a bit who was also a lovely lady.  Saw Gord who was lapping me on his 50 miler!

The trail was really well marked, this was Tim and Andrea's first years as race directors and they did a great job.  Was really impressed with it.  Unlike when I ran the 50k in 2014 the race marshals were at the initial turn (in 2014 we all hemmed and hawed).  They'd also put up reflective strips for night running for the 100 milers which was really really smart.

I had to pee at 6k, so I figured I was well hydrated, though I felt a bit nauseous.  In retrospect, I wasn't drinking enough, as eventually I began to feel very chilled and shivery - I immediately took another S!Cap and drank some more, but.  I probably drank just over 2L - MAYBE 2.5L by the time I took water from course - which for the race in that heat I don't think was enough.  I was soaked through with sweat.

I could feel my glutes get bother-y.  Something about this course does it for me.  I really need to work on strengthening my glutes if I'm going to run 100 miles here next year.  I slowed down some because of this and even walked some downhills!

Heading back out of the Gatehouse onto the road section I heard my name from the course marshall and hey!  It's Byron!  Nice!  Eventually got to the Headwaters lollipop loop (after stopping to go the washroom but not pee at the 12k aid station...wth, I'd already pooped twice that day) and tried to keep the pace easy - walked lots because of my glute, I was just waiting for my IT band to go - but I did end up running a fair bit of the downhill.

I wasn't too worried about pace.  After last Sunday I'd hoped my fat out of shape ass could do it in 3.5 hours, but with the heat, I figured anything under 4 hours I'd be happy with.  But I knew I wasn't going to be close to 3.5 hours after all, so - I relaxed.  Heading off the lollipop I saw Joe heading the other way on his second loop for the 100 miler and was happy to see him pacing conservatively - gave him a big high five.

Back up Martin Road and the evil hill and I was done!  Nice to have some more water and get changed.  I was 3:33:46 final time.  Oh well.  If I were thinner I'd be upset with that time, but I'm not, so given that and the heat and how little I trained I'll take it.

Mom headed out, I cheered in Margaret and chatted with Kelly B and her, then went over to the shade by the start/finish and hung out with Helen, Don, and Veronique.  Helen was dogsitting so brought Teddy - so cute!  Byron was there too and eventually after their run so were April and Mel, so we all hung out and had a great time.

Helen and I even saw a fox when we took Teddy for a little walk down the hill onto the course to look for people.  We got to cheer in the runners which was great.

Joe came in from his second loop (40k) in 5:50 which was behind pace but I told him in the heat not to worry about it.  He was still running good.  He took just over 4 hours for his third loop, so slowed down a lot.

I went to see him and he wanted to DNF (quit).  I convinced him to rest, then he said he wanted to lie down.  April, Mel and Byron all said not to let him sleep more than 15 minutes, so I then woke him up, and told him he needed to get going or he was in danger of timing out.  Joe said he wanted to sleep for another 30 minutes and he'd just time out.  I discussed it with him but he was adamant.

Went to back to April, Mel and Byron who said 'No, you have to get him moving!' But what am I supposed to do.  So I went back and told him April and Mel thought he should get up and get going, and THEN he did.  Ha!  The magic words!

As it turns out, he took 3 hours to do the next loop - 2 hours of running and 1 hour of sleeping on the trail.  Not the best pacing unfortunately.  But he came in charged up and said he felt great, that he was back.  Yay!

He did the next loop in over 4 hours - he ran the first 10k in about an hour, then slowly walked the rest.  When he came in for 100k it was 17 hours 48 minutes on the clock, and he said he was done.  I said 'No, you have time, you just have to keep steady and you've got this, get back out there!' and he said he was exhausted, had terrible chafing (which was raw and which he'd put duct tape over, oh oww oww oww) plus he has a 24 hour treadmill run in 3 weeks that he's raised money for.  So, because of the chafing, and because he had committed to other people for the 24 hour run, I let him DNF.  Feel bad about it, but the chafing seemed pretty awful and he was in a lot of pain.

Goodbye Sulphur....

Joe was both philosophical and down.  I'm supposed to pace him at the Haliburton 100 and he said he didn't want to run it.  I told him he should wait a week or two before making any decisions, and see Sulphur as a long training run for the 24 hour run and Hali.  Speaking to Joe today, he's back on track for Hali and in a better frame of mind.  He's going to recommit to his training.

Perhaps the most incredible thing of the day was that the 100 mile record got broken, in 38C heat - 15:33:34.  Here's a video of the winner coming in so fast I could barely catch him!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Killarney Proulx Lake Trip

This trip had lots of changes.

First, we were supposed to go backpacking to Topaz Lake in Killarney in July, but there is a family wedding that weekend, so we switched it to May 7-8th heading up to Killarney to the campground on the 6th.

Then, Toby's back went.  It was bad.  He only missed one day of work, but I had to drive him to our RMT which is MAYBE 700m away from our house because he couldn't walk.  Physio, massage, and muscle relaxants helped but he wasn't  in a position to backpack, carrying a pack, or even car camp and sleep on an air mattress and day hike.

I decided to go anyways.  When I switched our reservation to May I reserved Cave Lake, H5, but with Toby not coming I decided to go to H48, Proulx Lake.  Which is one of the prettier sites on the trail.

Watching the weather leading up it was supposed to rain on Saturday, but be nice Sunday.

I worked a half day Friday and then headed up.  I knew I'd be arriving after the office closed (it closed at 3:30pm) so I called and asked if they could sit aside some firewood for me.  I arrived and - no wood.  Bah.  The next day when I checked in I mentioned it as I thought maybe they forgot to put it out, but no, someone else took it, despite it being clearly marked for campsite 8.  Jerks.


I had initially been planning to take both dogs, but Toby said he didn't think I would be able to get both dogs up the Crack by myself.  I thought about it, and agreed with him.  We agreed that he would stay with Neb and Luc and I would go on a buddies trip.  After all, Luc turns 13 in July and we don't know how much longer he'll be able to do this sort of thing.

The drive up was uneventful, though on Hwy. 69 there was a turtle (I think snapping) crossing the highway - myself and the cars behind me swerved to avoid it but traffic was busy and I'm not sure it made it.  I just felt sick that it would get hit, but I couldn't safely stop and get it.  Still, it cast a pall for awhile.

On Hwy. 637 I saw what I think was a marten dashing across the road followed shortly by a black bear on the side of the road.  The car behind me stopped and they got out!  Honestly, leave the bear alone, don't habituate it to people.  Sheesh.  Dumb people.

Friday night was uneventful.

Saturday I woke up to a light rain.  Packed up and went to the office, checked in, charged my phone for a bit then hit the trail about 10am.  It was raining but not overly hard.  I was wearing my rainpants and rain jacket, then quickly decided I was way too warm and took off my rain jacket so I was just in my merino tshirt - after all, merino is warm when wet.

Shortly after we crested the first hill, we saw two day hikers with a dog on leash, so I put Luc back on leash.  They said they'd seen a bear (the other side of the A.Y. Jackson Lake) so after we passed by I elected to keep Luc on leash for awhile.  I didn't want a bear to spook him or him to spook a bear.  No signs of it though.

This weekend was the spring clean up weekend that the Friends of Killarney Park puts on, and at Wagon Road Lake crossing the beaver dam I came across two women and a girl who were engaged in cleaning up backcountry campsites.  The girl fell in crossing the dam.  The lead woman was using a shovel as a hiking pole, which I thought was incredibly strange, until she explained they were cleaning campsites...ahh, that makes sense.

The rest of the way to where the La Cloche Silhouette intersects with the Crack trail was unremarkable, though Luc did experience some doubt crossing a swollen stream and eventually had to run through it much to his horror.  I was very impressed at his bravery though.

It did really start to pour in this section, and I was cursing the thought of having to go up the Crack (which Luc does not enjoy) and onto the ridges in the rain.  Those rocks are s-l-i-p-p-e-r-y when wet.
Shortly after the La Cloche intersects with the Crack trail, I saw two trail runners on their way to Silver Peak, so we had a nice quick conversation about running.

Once onto the ridges below the Crack we ran into some people with their dog coming down from the Crack.  Heading up the ridge was fine, though it was wet, as Luc can attest to:

Then we got the Crack - Luc's nemesis.  I was dreading taking him up it in slippery rocks.

Yes the picture above is the trail.  You can imagine how much fun it is to take a geriatric German Shepherd up that!

But he did good.  We got up to the top and two people said 'Wow, we were just wondering if our dogs would be able to make it up here!  Hey, he's on old timer, a grey beard!' and I was like 'Aww, well, yes, but he's ageless really'.

I'd been making okay time until the hills before the Crack, but once hitting the wet exposed rock and route finding I slowed down.  I fell twice.  Sigh.  The first time Luc was like 'What are you doing?'  Thanks Luc.

We saw some early spring flowers!

It was just under 13k to Proulx Lake and I took under 4:20hrs to get there - I'm not sure exactly because I forgot to stop my GPS when I got to the campsite.

When I got there the three guys and their German Shepherd mix who had stayed their the night before were still there!  They'd decided to wait out the rain before heading out.  Their dog got in Luc's face but like a good boy he just ignored it.  I was unimpressed.

They decided to do a last minute site check for garbage - how nice!  The volunteers I'd seen early said they were at Proulx Lake and that it was in great shape.

I feel like the volunteers probably would've removed the copious amounts of pistachio shells that were around the campfire.  That were undoubtedly from the guys who had stayed there Friday night (but oh yeah, they checked for garbage...idiots).

Anyways, I set up camp, got the bear rope hung, did a terrible job with the tarp (I just kept the pack under it, it was clearing by then).  I was reading my Kobo on a log around the campsire when I saw orange out of the corner of my eye, looked over, and saw a guy heading towards the site!

I went over to say hello, Luc barked in his best German Shepherd style - the man was tired and couldn't make his campsite for the night, he asked if he could camp below my site and I said sure, not a problem.

I went back to reading then felt bad - he might want a fire!  I'd been too lazy to gather wood, but he might enjoy it.  I went over to tell him that he was welcome to come up and use the fire pit.  He said he was having some trouble finding a flat site for his tent, so I said there was one next to the tent pad he was welcome to.  He came up, Luc barked some more, but then calmed down.

We introduced ourselves - Atanu was his name - he'd come in from Bell Lake bushwhacking and was heading the Crack parking lot.  I was jealous, I've always wanted to do the Bell Lake bushwhacking route.

Anyways, after he was all set up we got to chatting.  Turns out he is also a Toronto Outdoor Club member (the club I used to volunteer for and that I was president of).  We discussed mutual people we know and agreed that Jesse makes the best chai tea on winter backpacking trips!

Atanu unlike me wasn't lazy and gathered firewood, so we had a fire:

We had a nice night talking and Luc enjoyed himself.

The evening sun was beautiful.

I had a good sleep.  It was forecasted to go down to 0C and that seems pretty accurate, at least, so I was glad for my big Big Agnes sleeping pad and -10C sleeping bag.  The world's coldest sleeper slept comfortably.

I woke up when Luc wanted to get up.  We got out and it was SNOWING!!!  On May 8th!  Incredible!  What the heck....

We had a quick time breaking camp and then started hiking together.  Luc did good getting up the ridge by Little Superior though needed some help in places.

Don't believe me when I said it was snowing?  Check out these pics, including snow caught in a bush and on a spider web.  Of course this meant that rocks on the ridges were once again wet and slippery thanks to the snow.  Sigh.

We got down the Crack okay - Luc finds it easier to go down then up, probably because he can actually see the route easier.  He's short enough he can't see where he's going when he goes out.  I'm taller than him (obviously) and I find going down easier for the same reason.

Atanu had offered if I wanted to go the Crack parking lot with him (which is closer than George Lake) and give me a ride back to my car at George Lake.  I could feel a hot spot/blister developing on my big toe and the snow had changed to rain so I decided to take him up on it.  We did just over 7.5k on the day.

It was great to make a new friend in Atanu!  After some initial barking Luc really took to him too, which was great.

Gear - I used my Granite Gear Vapor Ki pack, as I was carrying more weight, my Big Agnes Fly Creek 2, my Big Agnes Double Z sleeping pad (I think that's it) and Luc had my Therm-a-Rest Z Lite Sol sleeping pad.  I brought my Western Mountaineering -10C sleeping bag so my pack was HUGE.  Heh.  But all worked well, it's just a better workout I guess.