Tuesday, May 31, 2016

More Cabot Trail

I have a tonne of pictures of the boys from this weekend.  Lots of smiles and lots of good mood images, even though Dennis Fairall's fellers suffered their first loss at the famed Cabot Trail relay.  We had won in 2009, and again in 2010, and made another appearance in the 2016 race.  We would finish second to a formidable team from the state of Maine called the Mainiacs.  It was a great victory for them as the set the course record from our 2010 team finishing 280km in 16 hours and 11 minutes.  We ran 16:33.

The running journey started on December 1st for me, but the actual travel journey started last Thursday night when Phil Dalton and I set out from Goderich to the Toronto airport.  We had a Friday morning, eight o'clock flight.  We'd be joined by Rich Tremain and Mark Kiteley for the first leg of the trip, then picked up Nick Best as we made it to Sydney, NS by noon.  Off to pick up the rental vehicle.

We got into Baddeck by mid afternoon on Friday.  We had arrived a few hours after an intrepid crew of four from Windsor got there.  They had driven!  2000km straight.  Unreal! They must have been very happy to see fresh faces as there were many hugs, high fives, and back-pats.  The mood was excitement all around.  By and by, the rest of the team arrived via Halifax and the team was set.

The race is 280km long, has 17 races, and takes over 27 hours to complete by the time it is all said and done.  We had 15 runners so 2 people ran twice.  We had 3 cars, so we staggered our entry and participation based on the schedule and when people ran.  Once it got going though we all sort of hung out and followed the action.  This time I stayed up the entire time and didn't sleep at all, however the race started at seven am, and a few of us didn't leave the hotel under ten thirty to join the team up the road.  So I was basically there for it all....

I ran the fourth section starting at noon on Saturday.  It was 20k long.  The first nine was rolling, then a 2.1 climb up Old Smokey rising 400m I think.  And then a downhill, and finally rolling again to the finish.  It was difficult enough, but it was a leg I wanted to do and signed up for.  I was sooooo happy with the way I ran and hung tough on it.  I battled with a runner for the entire distance, finishing runner up to his 1:10.20 to my 1:10.40.  I gave it all I had, and left a bit behind on Smokey.....  Running that time for 20k, over that terrain, made me very satisfied and pleased with how I had trained and prepared for the race....  Like the last 5k I was in, I was beat by a better man.  But not too disappointed.  Great run Rajean Chaisson.  Good luck with the running and the coaching in the future.

We had 14 other super runners who left it out on the road.  We brought former Lancers Alex MacLeod, Rich Tremain, Mark Kiteley, Andrew Coates, Phil Dalton, Drew Patterson, Matt Sinclair, Dave DiPiero, Taylor MacArthur, Andrew Kellar, and myself.  We were joined by Nick Best, Matt McNeil, Doug Vincent, and Graydon Snider.  There are countless All-Canadians in that list, a number of CIAU champions, a sub four minute miler, national team members, Windsor graduating years stretching from 1993 to 2014, world record holders (100x1 mile relay, and juggling/joggling world record holder), and all sorts of other weird and wonderful stats represented.  I had a fantastic time with them all.  I new most of them, and got to know a few more and was instantly impressed by what they were able to bring to the race.

We had two other minders and coaches.  Dave Weston and Rich Johnston.  They were part of the driving crew from Windsor and just drove the entire race, dropping us off at check points, gathering our gear, getting beer or food for us, and just taking care of what we needed. 

I would have to type continuously to describe the stories and the revelry/festivities that ensued post race.  We partied it up at the Baddeck Yacht Club fairly hard.   We were joined by most of the other members of the 70 teams competing....  Surprisingly I saw a few people I recognized, whom I hadn't seen in 6 years or more, so I kept it tame and caught up with friends of yesteryear, and also tried to have some good meaningful conversations with guys on the team who I don't get a chance to talk with that much. 

Cabot Trail Relay

Leg 4, chugging up Old Smokey....  It was pretty tiring, but once at the top I felt good.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ducks Came Back

Whether or not they are the same pair from last year, who knows.  But I do know mating pairs of ducks are generally monogamous and stay with the same partner for life.  But if they return to the same spot year in and year out, that I don't know.

And in running news I ripped off a 16:12 5km a week or two ago.  I was quite please actually.  I thought I would run something very close to that = It would have been incredible to see 15:59 on the clock, but alas.  I didn't run with a watch or look at any splits along the way - would it have made a difference????  Who knows, but I was happy all the same. The race was in Goderich and I know it is accurate!  If anything it is long!  Ya right....  The race goes right past the house so Shelly was outside playing the trumpet and the kids had a bit of a cheering section on the go....
It was actually a very very cold windy and snowy morning - It didn't snow during the race, but before it started.  Maybe with more favourable weather I would have hit sub sixteen?
My younger brother ripped off a 10km a few weeks ago and he hit a very respectable time of 42:30.  He also had the cheering squad going and all that.  Maybe he'll be a potential member of our Cabot Trail relay team in another year if we decide to do it again?  Who knows.  Keep going!

Long Weekend Camping

The long weekend just past and we hit the road for the first ever camping experience as a foursome.  It was okay... 

With Joel being out in BC, he would definitely not be needing the Palomino Pony for the weekend.  So after a quick email I had secured its use to take up to Macgregor Provincial Park in Port Elgin.  It was only 100km away, and if something about the weekend went wrong, it would not take too long to get back into comforts of running water, plumbing, heat, awesome beds, t.v., internet, well prepared food, no stinking, laundry, and so on and so forth.  However I can write that it wasn't so bad, but dam cold at night.

All in all though we were kitted well.  Our food and food preparation was very good.  In terms of leisure we had bikes and made use of the endless miles of trails to ride.  There is a well stocked store with tasty treats, clean flush toilets, showers, and so on.  Our trailer was decent....  The only major complaint was not being warm enough at night.  It was cold.....  I don't think it would have been sorted with simply extra blankets or extra clothes.  Those would have only delayed the onset of being cold - electric blankets and something industrial would have been the ticket to a more enjoyable night sleep.... 

It was Shelly's birthday on the weekend away.  We went camping with a group of 4 other people with kids, and the one lady had a birthday cake and cupcakes...  So it was incredibly nice of them to pull off that.

So we biked around a lot - I went for a few runs of course.  Molly did okay biking on the roads, but she had a bit tougher time on the trails with the rocks and roots.  We had lots of campfires, and there was also lots of playground equipment and a beach.  No swimming for us, although we did see people submerged in the water.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

New Month

Into May, yet all is mostly the same around here.  Starting with a great picture of Shelly and I fresh from a day ago.  She was all gussied up and going out to a high school reunion and fundraiser of sorts.  She would meet up with her current core group of friends, also see lots of old friends, and of course plenty of teachers would be there too.  By all accounts it was a great night; so great she didn't even come home!  I say fantastic - I always welcome a night and event out with the friends.  Of all things, she bid and won a neat gift of sorts.  It is an hour of radio hosting on a station called AM 920 = Yes, AM radio still exists.  It is a local station of sorts that still airs programs that would have been popular in the 60s and 70s.  I believe there is still a noon hour In Memoriam slotting, I believe they still have a buy/sell broadcast where people call in to peddle their items, and of course they broadcast a Crime Stoppers announcement.  Evidently the managers of the station aren't aware of the internet and such 21 century forms of media....  I am sure Shelly will do great when she chooses her time slot.
Jeff and I went out turkey hunting this weekend.  I came back with a juvenile male.  Not a huge monster, but a worth while bird none the less.  We set up nice and early on Saturday morning.  We had 30 or 40 minutes of looking at the stars and moon before it got light.  Jupiter was at its finest in the southern sky.  It was very orangey/red, I wasn't sure what it was actually, but found out later in the day that it was the fifth planet.  It was a cloudless sky and just fantastic to be out enjoying it, and the day, so early.

We started to hear far-off gobbles after 6:00 am, by 6:30 they gobbles were closer, quite close actually, but the birds refused to investigate any closer.  They would not come out to the field and our assortment of decoys.  They would only respond to our calling.  That last for 20 minutes, and then slowly the gobbles got further and further away, but still within the vicinity.  At 7:30 I decided to abandon my field position, and take the hunt within the bush, where the birds were.

I told Jeff my plan, and said sit tight I will be back in 20 minutes.  Armed only with Ye Olde Raspy Hen caller and the Mossberg 930, I set off for the unknown.  I proceeded about 150 metres into a clearing of sorts in a cluster of hardwood trees.  This would be a fine position to advance my hunt.  I sat down and called.  An immediate response, and they were close.

I can't quite tell the difference between the size of the bird and how loud they gobble.  I find that it is all equally loud no matter the size of the bird.  I heard a number of loud gobbles from 2 different birds, and they were on a straight collision to my position.  Would they be big?  Would they have a beard dragging on the ground and a spur 2 inches long?  It would only be a matter of minutes until those questions were answered.  Too my surprise, three birds appeared about 20 yards away.  They were inching ever so closer.

It was quite a thrill they came to investigate.  I was only in that spot for less then 10 minutes.  They were now much more curious to investigate the location of the mating music, rather then ambling out into a field.  No matter.  As my excitement peaked, it almost immediate went down as these 3 were not the Moby Dicks of the ocean, or in this case the bush.  The triplets were jakes with 3.5 inch beards, maybe 4 inches if tugged.  I could see no spurs.  But jakes with beards they were, so they were officially in season and could be tagged if shot.

I stopped calling and just watched.  Watched them do that Egyptian type walk and poke with their heads and neck back and forth, back and forth.  I watched one triumphantly puff itself up and out to appease the female which wasn't even there.  I watched them walk a bit closer and get into a very good shooting spot.  One without trees in the way.....  At one point they three were so tightly grouped together, I thought 1 shot would quite easily hit all 3 with the scatter of a number 4 turkey shot - but immediately didn't think that was too ethical given I only had 1 tag.  I didn't know the legalities of such, but it didn't sound like a plan I wanted to execute. 

I did a lot of thinking as it were.  The last thing I thought about was how often I go out hunting and come back without seeing anything.  With nary a sighting of game.  I thought about all the tags I have bought that went into the recycling bin because of many factors....  But essentially not filled or used.  I thought about how I have a sure thing now, and the next time out I may not...  I had my gun up, the only thing I needed to do was decide on the bird, rest my head down and take aim, un-safety, and pull the trigger.  Having them only 15 yards away, it wasn't too difficult.  So I did. 

I am also on this big Rubik's Cube bit at the moment.   If you are familiar with it....  I can get the first 2 rows solved no problem.  It doesn't take me too long - I have the moves memorized, for the most part, and plow through the white face and then align red, green, blue, and orange appropriately.  Then I am doing okay getting my yellow cross on top, and ultimately I get the yellow face filled.  This is where I am having my problems....  I have the codes to finish off, but I can only get the middle rows successfully filled, leaving my corners off.  Luckily, and only by luck or happenstance, I have completed it twice, but have messed up over 20 times....  I think I am doing it all consistently, but evidently not.  However, I will continue to watch the tutorials, figure it out, and get it all memorized.