Welcome to the Derrick Spafford and Sara Montgomery 'RANTS' page. This is where we share things of interest (to us anyhow), and give you an idea of what makes us tick. We hope you enjoy it...
Jan 14, 2009/Blogs....
You've probably noticed that we haven't been posting many updates on this page. In case you missed it, we welcome you to check out the following links to our other blogs, where we have been posting a little more regularly...
Health and Adventure (Derrick) - http://derrickspafford.blogspot.com/
Trail Tripping (Sara) - http://www.saratraining.blogspot.com/
Oct 22, 2008/Rock and Ice Ultra...
I am very excited to have found out that I will be running in the 2009 Rock and Ice Ultra in Yellowknife next March.
I will be competing in the Diamond Ultra (225km/6 stage/6 day race). Participants are required to run while pulling all of their supplies in a pulk (sled) and then sleep in tents on the trail each night. Last year I competed in the K-Rock Ultra (135km/3 stage/3 day race) where we were able to have our overnight and any extra gear shuttled between stage camps. Diamonds valued at $6,000 will be awarded to the first place male and female finishers.
I really can’t wait for this race as I’ve thought about it so much, while learning a great deal about the event from last March. I feel as though I have a pretty good idea of what I need to do to fully prepare for this…both training and gear wise.
Most of the little nagging aches and pains since Haliburton have been left behind now and I’m slowly getting back into full training again. One of the things I’ve been looking into a great deal recently has been how to build a pulk. I’m hoping to build my own and plan to start training with it as much as possible when the snow flies. I fully expect this will be the toughest race I have ever run, but I'm really looking forward to it. Should be fun!
I will be recording my training leading up the race. Click here for updates.
Sept 9, 2008/Haliburton Forest Trail Runs...
This was my first attempt at running a 100 mile race and I was fortunate that things went well for me and I ended up winning it in 18:42:02.
I've written a report on my training log about the race at http://derrickspafford.blogspot.com/2008/09/haliburton-forest-100-miler.html
Sara also ran at Haliburton and won the 50km for the third time!
Sept 4, 2008/Adirondack Training Weekend...
We wrote a blog that is now posted on the La Sportiva Adventure Running Blog from our training weekend last month. http://adventurerun.wordpress.com/
July 21, 2008/Summer fun!
We've had a very busy summer of fun so far on Freeman Road. And looking forward to much, much more!
We have a trail cut on our property that we regularly use for running on and mountain biking.
One evening last year, we had the idea of seeing how fast we could mountain bike on the main 500 meter loop. Brennan held the record last year with a time of 1:30. That held until just recently when Brennan smashed it in a time of 1:14.
To watch a vidow of Brennan's record breaking ride, click here.
Heather's final two playoff games took place on the weekend and she played great. Probably her best games of the season. They won the first game 5-4, then lost the second game 3-1, so ended up finishing second in the B division. What a great season. Heather improved a great deal over the course of the season, as did her team as a whole.
One happy soccer player at the end of a long, hot and humid game.
Where are the popsicles???
July 11, 2008/You Want Dogs? We Got Dogs
Here are a couple of doggle videos.
The first one is a rare capturing of all seven of our hounds and huskies on tape.
This one is called "A Conversation WIth Mali".
June 26, 2008/Odessa Year End Assembly...
The year end assembly took place today at Odessa Public School with all the awards being handed out for the 2007/2008 school year.
Heather won the Most Conscientious Student Award.
Heather was also recognized as being a member of the School's Green Team. This group works hard in helping to make Odessa a very environmentally responsible school.
June 24, 2008/Daisy Trails
The trails on our property are lined with daisies right now. Siku is showing them off. The dogs enjoy running loops with us, as well as stopping to eat wild strawberries. Mali wins the "bear" award for eating the most. No big surprise.
In the picture below, you can see that even an old trail that we don't use anymore is filled in with daisies.
A lot of fast-growing trees are starting to fill in the meadow areas. It will be nice to have more woods to meander through.
June 3, 2008/Spring Trail Running...
It has been a great spring of hitting the trails. High humidex values are just around the corner now, so we're enjoying the crisper days while we have them. Some spring memories, from the trails...
North end of Moulton Gorge, Frontenac Park
Arkon Lake, Frontenac Park
Tom Dixon Loop,
Bear print at Frontenac. Days later, Derrick saw
a mom with three cubs
on a trail
near our house.
April 23, 2008/Debbie McKeown Travel and Adventure Writing...
Congratulations to my sister Debbie on the launch of her new website...
Debbie McKeown Travel and Adventure Writing
Deb has travelled extensively around the world and written about her vast experiences. Check out her many travel and adventure pieces, gear reviews and great photos!
April 22, 2008/Barefoot Running (or the next best thing)..
Barefoot running is a great way to strengthen your feet and help prevent certain common running injuries (as long as you ease into it gradually). I have always loved the feeling of running barefoot and add some into my training whenever possible.
The challenge at times can be finding a suitable and safe surface to run on. This is where Vibram Five Fingers come in handy. These great shoes are basically gloves that fit on your feet (between your toes) and mimic barefoot running very well. The thin rubber sole provides just enough protection to prevent you from injuring yourself from a sharp stick or rock, while not taking away from the natural barefoot feel. They look kind of funny, but work great. I was giggling to myself the other day while running through mud and wondering if the next hiker on the trail would think that they had discovered Sasquach from the footprints I had left.
To view the gear review I did for Snowshoe Magazine on Vibram Five Fingers last fall, please click here.
April 17, 2008/Another Heather original...
Here is a beautiful painting that Heather gave me for my birthday.
The theme was very fitting having recently returned from the Rock and Ice Ultra in Yellowknife.
While I didn't get to see much of the Northern Lights when I was there, Heather made up for it with her interpretation.
April 6, 2008/Still Snow!...
While out on the streets and around town, spring looks like it is here, however we were fortunate to have a couple of final snowy runs this past weekend.
This photo was taken on Sunday at Gould Lake during a very fun run. We were even post-holing up to our knees in places.
On Saturday, we had our final snowshoe run of the season on the Paudyn trails. This year was the best for snowshoe running in that we ran on snowshoes in each of the past six months!
March 17, 2008/Mount Freeman Snowboarding Hill - Derrick...
Brennan has been working very hard to build his own snowboarding hill in our backyard.
With the warm temperatures, followed by colder nights, the hill has been lightning fast!
March 16, 2008/Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon...
Please click here to read Sara's recap of the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon at Snowshoemag.com
March 12, 2008/Rock and Ice Ultra - Derrick...
The Rock and Ice Ultra page is now up!
Please click here for updates.
March 6, 2008/Heather's Painting - Derrick...
Heather has always had a strong interest in art and in recent months she has been doing quite a bit of painting.
Here is a painting Heather gave Sara as a Christmas present that is proudly displayed in our kitchen.
Here's a larger version...
March 5, 2008/Shoe Explosion - Derrick...
Some would comment upon entering our house that it looks like a massive shoe explosion has occurred.
....okay, well maybe. And this is just one small corner of our home!
Feb 20, 2008/Frontenac Park Forum - Derrick...
I have started a Frontenac Provincial Park Forum. This is a place where people can go to share their experiences at Frontenac Provincial Park with others and get more information on this wonderful piece of paradise. We have used a similar forum from the Adirondacks often and found it very helpful, which is what inspired us to start one for Frontenac Park.
Feb 15, 2008/Training Log - Derrick...
After having always kept a paper training log of all my runs, I have decided to start an online training log. Feel free to check it out at www.derrickspafford.blogspot.com if you want to see what my training looks like these days. I still don't know if I completely trust these computer thingys, so will continue to keep my handwritten training log too;)
Feb 11, 2008/Rock Climbing and the Igloo - Derrick...
We had a very busy weekend starting with a trip to the Boiler Room Climbing Gym to celebrate Heather's recent birthday. The staff at the Boiler Room are awesome. They were extremely thorough in our safety lesson and very encouraging of both Brennan and Heather. This was Heather's first time climbing, while Brennan has been climbing once before.
They both did incredible and are looking forward to future trips to the Boiler Room. If you haven't tried climbing, you really should. It's a great workout, so much fun and cheaper than a trip to the movies! The only disappointing part of the Boiler Room is that their rental climbing shoes were not La Sportivas;)
You would have thought that after a full day of climbing (well okay, we did stop for pizza on the way home) that we might have been a little sleepy on Saturday night. This was not the case though as we suddenly realized that the snow was perfect for building an igloo.
After three hours of hard work, we finally completed it after 11pm. We were pleased that we had built the best igloo this side of the north pole! We all slept very well on Saturday night, although we did choose to sleep inside, not in the Igloo!
February 6, 2008/Canadian Running Magazine - Derrick...
There will be a new running magazine available very soon. Canadian Running Magazine will be launching their website on February 15, 2008 and the first issue will hit the newstands nationally within the next few weeks.
Sara and I have both contributed articles that will appear in the second issue scheduled for April. We are also happy to report that Derrick's brother-in-law Jack McKeown will have some of his photography accompany Derrick's article.
February 5, 2008/Lost Dawg Ultra - Derrick...
Some of you may have heard that we had a bit of a scare with Jesse last week. Here is an account of the day we posted on Snowshoemag.com .
February 4, 2008/Rock and Ice Ultra - Derrick...
Lots of exciting stuff happening around Freeman Road these days. Training continues to go very well and we are looking forward to our upcoming races. I am still keeping my fingers crossed about the possibility of racing in the Rock and Ice Ultra in Yellowknife. One of the magazines that we have contributed to has submitted a proposal to the race director about having me compete in the race and write an article for the magazine. It has sounded very promising, but we are still waiting anxiously for confirmation. While the thought of racing any of those distances in the north scares the heck out of me, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am excited beyond words about. Check out the race details at www.rockandiceultra.com .
Jan 25, 2008/La Sportiva - Derrick & Sara...
We are thrilled to be running for the La Sportiva Running Team again in 2008!
La Sportiva is such an amazing company. They fully support the world of trail, mountain and ultra running by sponsoring a team of 41 runners and 50 races (including the Sydenham Fall 8km), in addition to promoting our sport in so many other ways. We also like that they are very environmentally responsible. All this, in addition to the fact that they make the best trail/mountain running shoes on the market!!!
We are looking forward to trying out some of the exciting new 2008 La Sportiva shoes in addition to our current favourites, the RaceBlade and FireBlade. Derrick "The Shoe Geek", is drooling over the new super-lightweight Skylite and Crosslites. The Lynx and Imogene also look like awesome new shoes for longer trail runs and fastpacking.
To see the full line of La Sportiva shoes, please visit www.sportiva.com
A great lineup of affiliate sponsors have also come on board to support the La Sportiva Running Team in 2008 including Petzl, Sugoi, Julbo, Kahtoola, Fuelbelt, First Endurance, DeFeet and Headsweats.
The updated 2008 La Sportiva Running Team website is now up. Check back often for regular race updates, features, profiles and other information.
If you have any questions about what shoes or gear may be suitable for you, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com
Jan 15, 2008/Stonehaven Handknit Peruvian Hats...
These hats are great!
Grandma Rosie has launched her line of Handknit Peruvian Hats. To purchase one for yourself on ebay, please click here.
Check out other great items on ebay under the seller name Stonehaven 2007
Jan. 14, 2008/Siku Turns Into Dog (almost)!
Our puppy Siku has suddenly become quite big.
Here are two videos of her....
Jan. 8, 2008/Breathe Mag – Derrick…
The latest issue of Breathe Magazine (Winter 2007/2008) is now on the newsstand. Sara and I were asked by the editor to submit a short blurb each on ‘If you could be a “super athlete” for your next race, who would you be (who is your hero)’? If you happen to be in Chapters, check it out on page #4.
Jan. 8, 2008/Winter Blahs – Derrick…
After having an incredible start to the winter with two big storms, it’s hard to believe that much of our snow is now gone. I just got back from a run wearing only one long sleeve and light tights, no hat or gloves, and I was boiling hot! I could have worn shorts and a t-shirt, and still been too warm. The temperature was 12C and sunny!
It’s really disappointing, especially for the huskies, that we’ve gotten this big melt. We have had 12 really good dogsled runs so far this winter and they were getting really fit. Even our new puppy, Siku, seems to be a little depressed with the lack of snow and she won’t even be hooked up with the dogteam until next winter.
Aside from the huskies, we have been training for the Pittsfield Snowshoe Marathon in March and it is certainly going to make things very difficult getting the time in on the legs on snowshoes. Sure we can still run plenty of mileage, but the specificity of running in snowshoes can’t be beat. Up until now, over half of our training has been running on snowshoes, so we can only hope for another big snowfall within the next week.
Dec 30, 2007/Derrick - New Website...
We are pleased to launch a new website Montgomery & Spafford Adventure Writing!
You you can find all of our current and past writing projects, in addition to gear reviews, at www.spafford.montgomeryadventurewriting.com .
Dec 14, 2007/Derrick - New Addition to the Pack...
We are very happy to introduce Siku!
Siku (means 'ice') came to us as an 8 week old Alaskan Husky last Friday. She has added a great deal of excitement around the dogyard and is quickly making friends with all of her new packmates.
Rumblings heard around the dogyard...
Meela: "My baby, finally my baby! Can't wait to teach her everything I know."
Willy: "Ha, they thought I was neutered!"
Cody: "Oh great. Just getting used to Jesse being around and they do this to me again!"
Jesse: "When can she run? I wanna play and run and run and run with her. Not much good if I can't play and run with her!"
Neeka: (Cue the theme from 'Rocky') "She better not think she can de-thrown the champ. Puppy or no puppy, I'll show her!"
Mali: "She bit my ear! She bit my damn ear! She better not eat any of my food either. I really like my food you know. And when ARE they going to give me that porkchop?"
Rocky and Ozzie: "Hmmm, wait a minute. Doesn't look like a cat. About the right size, but nope, I don't think it's a cat. I think we are definitely outnumbered now."
Nov 26, 2007/Derrick - First Dogsled Run of the Season...
Ah, there's nothing like the first dogsled run of the season! We barely had enough snow on the weekend, but just couldn't resist the temptation to get out there and enjoy it.
Jesse and Cody ran lead, while Willy and Meela ran wheel. We just did a couple of miles on Friday, but then did this 4 mile run on Saturday, just south of Camden East.
Everyone had a good time as you can tell from the 5 big smiles in this picture.
Nov 26, 2007/Derrick - Snowshoe Mag...
The snowshoe season is just around the corner (for us anyhow) and we are pleased to be writing gear reviews and blogs again this season for Snowshoemag.com.
Please check back regularly or feel free to sign up for the Snowshoe Mag E-newsletter and get regular updates.
Nov 23, 2007 - Derrick's Breathe Article
Check out Derrick's article in Breathe Magazine online, on trail running near Lake Placid.
Nov 20, 2007/Sara - Last Race of 2007
With our last race of the year behind us, we’re taking a few weeks of reduced mileage to recover. Last weekend we traveled to Ipswich, MA for the Stone Cat Trail Races. Derrick was looking to get another 50 miler under his belt this fall, while I ran the marathon trail distance that they also offered. The course was a 12.5 mile loop consisting entirely of trail on undulating terrain. With the fall leaves and sunshine, it was a very pretty backdrop to the day of racing. Derrick ran an excellent race, finishing 10th in a strong field, and improving his time from Haliburton by 15 minutes. Even better, he wasn’t as sore or tired after this one, and is anxious to do more ultras next year. I was happy to just get through my race, as I went out too hard thanks to a great taper and then paid the price in a painful second loop. The race was very well organized, and they gave us nice technical long sleeves, plus a finisher’s jacket.
It has been a rewarding year of training and racing. Watching Derrick jump up in race distance has been very inspiring, and it’s neat for him to explore this new realm of running after so many years in the sport.
Snowshoe running season starts in January! Our puppy arrives soon too! We’ll post a picture as soon as we get her.
Oct 5, 2007/Derrick - Heather's XC Race...
Heather had her regional cross country race yesterday in South Fredericksburg and had an awesome run. She was competing as a first year in the bantam girls race against many older kids and finished in a very strong 40th place for the 2.2km race. Heather ran a very even paced race and passed a lot of other runners in the second half of the race.
Sept. 26, 2007/Derrick - Back at it!
Well, it's been over 2 weeks now since Haliburton and we're both finally starting to feel better again. I know for me it was a full 10 days before the soreness left my legs, but even after that we both found ourselves feeling pretty sluggish. However, the last few days things have turned around quite a bit and feeling pretty close to normal. It may have had something to do with this athlete profile we read about La Sportiva athlete Anton Krupicka ( http://www.mountainrunning.com/bios/spotlight/akrupika.html ), but we are both pretty inspired to get back training hard again. The guy runs 225 miles per week! Anyhow, there is a little life back in the pipes and it sure feels good to want to do some longer runs again!
Here are a few more pictures we just found from Haliburton...
Sara coming up to the first aid station, shortly after the 6am start in the dark.
Derrick at the first aid station.
Sara finishing strong in the last few hundred meters.
Sep 12, 2007/Sara - Haliburton Forest
This past weekend we were at the Haliburton Forest Ultra races. Derrick was running his first ever 50 miler, and I was doing the 50k.
Haliburton Forest is a perfect venue to hold a trail race. They have a 25km, 50km, 50 mile and 100mile races. We were treated to beautiful forest, great views of lakes, and miles and miles of trails. Add to this the howl of wolves and it just doesn't get any better. The course was very technical with lots of rocks and roots, as well as being very hilly.
Both of us were very pleased with how our races went. I won the women’s 50km race in 5:29:39, and Derrick was 2nd in the 50 mile in 8:26.
I was a little intimidated going into it, as this was my first attempt at running that far. I started off pretty cautiously at the beginning, but found myself feeling really good at about 3 hours in, so decided to pick it up. I may have picked it up a little too much as I paid for it at about 5 hours when my legs cramped up badly. This was soon followed by two quick pukes. After that I started feeling a little better again and was at an aid station soon where I was able to eat some bananas, cantaloupe, coke and water. Then I started feeling better again and I ran well for much of the rest of the way. The last 45 minutes hurt a lot, but I knew I was going to finish so that was all that really mattered. The really interesting thing I'm learning about ultras is that you can (and will) go through rough patches, but you can get through it and still run well later on. That isn't always the case with shorter distances.
I'm still kind of up in the air about what's next. It was pretty neat seeing the 100 milers finish their races and hearing their stories. I know that I'm not ready for that yet, but I am pretty sure that it's something I want to do at some point in the next few years. Anyways, as of today, my legs have never hurt this much before, so I'd best let them recover a little more before planning ahead too much. I should also mention that I was rather surprised that I had absolutely no foot issues (no blisters, hot spots or anything!). I'll put that down to wearing my La Sportiva Race Blades (the best trail running shoes I've ever worn). Oh yeah......I had to do a short run the next day to keep my daily running streak alive and it was my most painful run EVER!
Every race is different, and my favourite thing to do after is ask myself what I learned from the experience. Wakely was much more miserable for me, but the trade-off was that it felt sweeter and I think I learned more. It taught me new things about digging deep to get through something tough, and reminded me of the incredible high that comes after that is done.
This time, I guess I was able to use some of that new insight, and so the thing I’m proudest of about this race was that I stayed more mentally tough than I have before. A big part of that was just training, I felt physically ready and very well tapered. But still, there are always lows, and I feel like I pulled myself out of them well this time, and focused on the right things to have a good race. Mostly attitude stuff, but my fueling also went well, even with an improvised jujube replacement of my gels at the half, and then eload for the last hour. I’m glad I brought along extra electrolyte tablets too, as I ended up using them all. My quads were smoked and those things helped keep them from turning completely to lead. The coolest thing was seeing Derrick come to the finish of his 50M, it was so exciting! (And a bit of a relief!)
We camped out that night to watch the 100 milers come in, and enjoyed some Guinness and chips as our muscles continued to seize up beyond belief. The next morning we hobbled over to the Wolf Centre, a 15-acre enclosure which house nine gray wolves. It was amazing to see these beautiful animals, and we were lucky to be there at a time when they were all in sight. One of the wolves was a four month old pup, seen here with one of her pack mates.
Aug 30, 2007/Derrick - New Bike and Pet...
The end of the summer is coming oh so quickly, but we've managed to squeeze some extra fun into the past few days.
Happiness is a new bike! Or a previously enjoyed bike.....with a cool new paint job! We have been doing a lot of mountain biking since Heather got this bike recently (thanks Rick P.). With green being Heather's favourite colour, she was determined that her bike needed to be as bright of a green as possible. The orange hi-lites were a bonus to make the bike even faster...though Brennan still holds the course record on our tricky 500m trail loop of 1:30.
Yes, we have another pet. We are pleased to introduce 'Sherpa' the chipmunk. Sherpa has been hanging out in our backyard recently and getting spoiled rotten with lots of peanuts. He has even gotten so brave as to hopping up and eating right out of our hands. A second chipmunk (Sherpet) has also been visiting us too, but is not quite as brave as Sherpa.....yet. 'Quigley' the squirrel has been less than thrilled with the new additions as he has been getting less peanuts for himself.
Aug 28, 2007/Derrick - Magazine Articles
August has been a great month with two of our articles being published in Her Sports Magazine and Ottawa Outdoors Magazine.
Sara wrote a very informative introduction to trail running article (Hit the Dirt) in Her Sports Magazine. Her Sports is an American magazine that has a large distribution area across Canada and the U.S. It's available in newstands now!
Ottawa Outdoors Magazine also published our article on Fastpacking in Killarney from our 3 day trip there last summer. Ottawa Outdoors is available mostly in the City of Ottawa at a number of sports and outdoor gear stores.
Aug 20, 2007/Sara - Dreaming of the Mountains (Again)
But really, why dream when we can just pack the car and go? That’s what we did, leaving Friday night after work and heading for Lake Placid. We were planning a good training weekend as our Haliburton races approach.
After an uneventful drive, we "checked into" our accommodations at South Meadow, near Adirondack Loj. South Meadow has free campsites tucked into the woods just at the edge of the High Peaks Wilderness. The perfect spot to headquarter for the weekend. It’s only about 10 minutes from Lake Placid, so we could pop into town whenever we wanted.
Shortly after we got our tent up, it started to rain. It didn’t stop until late the next morning. We had intended to head out earlier, but were on the trail by noon. It didn’t take long to get to Avalanche Pass, and despite the gray day, it was a stunning sight. Mountains rise right out of the lake, and we were dwarfed by them. A small group of people were gathered here taking in the sight. From there we circled Lake Colden, and due to our later start, took a shortcut over Cold Brook Pass, which was really miserable. (We’ve since renamed it “Cold Day In Hell Before We Do That Again” Pass.) From there, an easy few miles brought us back to our campsite for a total run time on the day of 5 hours and 20 minutes.
After a restful evening of dinner and drinks and a great sleep, the next morning we set out to try to get to the summit of Algonquin Mountain, the second highest peak in the park at 5,114 feet high. It turned out to be a very runner-friendly trail, with decent footing and nice flat rocks, although we had a few good scrambles on the way up. The weather at the bottom of the mountain was relatively clear, but it ended up being quite cold at the summit and we had to put on a few extra layers of clothing to stay warm. After sharing an energy bar, we started our run back down. We knew that the jarring of the descent was going to come back to haunt our muscles over the next few days. Our total run time to reach the summit and return down was just over 3 hours. We had a great time on this run; it was the perfect way to cap off our weekend.
Aug 15, 2007/Derrick - Adirondacks:
We recently got back from a great vacation with Brennan and Heather in the Adirondacks. One of our goals of the trip was to climb Mt Cascade with them, but also to spend some time camping, enjoying the outdoors and doing some touristy stuff in Lake Placid.
On the day of our climb, we had an early big breakfast then headed out to the trailhead. There weren’t many flat sections the entire climb, but Brennan and Heather did just awesome. Cascade is a 4098ft mountain with about 2000ft to ascend in about 4km (8km round trip)….so some pretty steep climbing. There were some tough scrambles in places too, but we made it to the top in a little over 1.5 hours. Brennan just flew up it. Heather did really well too, and got very competitive whenever anyone came up behind us and picked up the pace. They both had summit fever when we got near the top and forgot about how tired they were. The view at the summit was spectacular and well worth the effort by all accounts. There were a few clouds, but you could see so many of the high peaks in the area. Cascade is a bald peak, so you had a 360degree view of the entire High Peaks area. We had lunch and spent about a half hour at the top before coming down.
We all found the downhill pretty tiring, which took almost as long as going up, so were happy to finish. Brennan and Heather really felt as though they accomplished something pretty special, especially when they saw how tough some adults were finding the climb and also when one group we had seen a number of times earlier on the mountain, cheered for them when we got back down. Definitely, a very memorable vacation.
July 25, 2007/Derrick - Damn Wakely Dam Ultra:
The Damn Wakely Dam Ultra (July 21) is an extreme trail run through the vast Adirondack Park Wilderness of New York along an uninterrupted section of the Northville Placid Trial between Piseco Lake and Wakely Dam. There are no cross roads. There are no aid stations. Runners must be prepared to complete the entire 32.6 miles (52.5K) of rugged technical trail unassisted.
Thankfully, the weather was quite cool, although it had rained hard for a couple of days before, so the trail was very slippery. We used a 3litre lightweight running pack with an extra waterbottle, and found we didn’t need stop to purify water on the trail. The course was quite rugged with 7500ft of elevation change, but we didn't find the hills too bad at all. The toughest part though was the dangerously wet rocks, roots, bridges, deep mud and constantly looking for trail markers. Went off trail a couple of times, but didn't lose much time there.
Sara had a really strong race and was second female in 6:53.
I knew it was going to be tough going in, as I had never run this far in a race ever (by a couple of km) and hadn't even come close in 3 years. Also, it was going to exceed my most recent long run (in time) by almost 3 hours. I tried not to dwell too hard on this last fact!
My goals were to not get hurt, not go off trail, and get to the end as strongly as possible. There were quite a few low points, but every step was closer to the end, and I drew a lot of strength from the non-race fastpacks we had done in recent years. The trail was very technical, but the last 4 miles was easy so it was nice to get to that point. I was passed by a bunch of people at about 27 miles, but managed to get my ego engaged and pass a lot of people at about 30 miles.
Learned a lot, felt incredibly grateful to get through, it was a bit of a stretch. Feels good to be back in the game in terms of long races, and excited for the next one. Halfway through Wakely, I was questioning why I did this stuff, it just didn't seem worth it, but from the perspective of being done it all makes sense again.
I ended up 7th overall in 6:03. My race was a little strange. I felt ok for the first few hours, then had a really rough patch at about the halfway point with a bad bout of nausea included with some projectile vomiting. This lasted for almost 90 min. I was kind of worried as I didn't know how I was going to continue. Was weird then as I gradually started feeling much better and my last 2 hours, I was flying and could have kept going well past the finish. I think it was a problem with the concentration of the gel-to-water. Need to experiment a little more with race nutrition and get this figured out before the next ultra in September. Felt like I was going backwards during the bad patch, but then was running very well at the end. Regardless, I learned a lot and am motivated for the next one. The biggest thing I learned was that “It never always gets worse”.
The trail was quite beautiful (in places) in the most remote/wild section of the Adirondacks. There weren’t that many breathtaking views as much of it was run in tree cover, although we certainly weren’t feeling like enjoying much of the scenery anyhow.
We have both taken it pretty easy the past few days since the race, but are already looking forward to getting back into hard training and preparing for Haliburton Forest in September.
July 25, 2007/Derrick - Summer Fun:
We have enjoyed a very busy summer so far and are anxiously looking forward to some upcoming holidays with Brennan and Heather. Heather played soccer again this summer and also took part in the Limestone Mile for the third year in a row. Heather ran 10:09 to improve her time by over a minute from last year!
Brennan has also had a very active summer which has included plenty of mountain biking, skateboarding and lots of climbing. Brennan has climbed any and all trees on our property to some great heights, which prompted us to take a trip to the Boiler Room Climbing Gym. Bren learned about rock climbing and did very well on his first trip there. He successfully climbed some 5.1 and 5.3 routes to the top of the gym.
May 13/Derrick - Ganaraska 25km: After a long winter of snowshoe running, it was nice to hop into a race without strapping the old tennis rackets on our feet. While we both felt a little rusty, we were relatively pleased with our efforts. Sara finished 7th in the women's race and I was 4th in the men's race. The race was held at Horseshoe Valley ski resort near Barrie. The course was beautiful, but very tough. Many long uphill sections, followed by steep downhills. Our legs were pretty beaten up after the race, but has inspired us to train hard for the upcoming summer races and fall season.
Earth Day Follow-up
Sunday was a gorgeous morning to do our road cleanup. Over just a one mile section, we picked up three full garbage bags of scattered debris. A lot of it was recyclable. Some of it was downright nasty (used diaper anyone?). Most of it is from fast food and cigarettes, which is very revealing.
My feelings were a bit roller-coastery as we made our way along. I was angry, depressed, despairing, but soon that turned to gratified, then hopeful, and then, as we finished, maybe even a bit optimistic. We saw a crew of ten around the corner from us was doing the same thing on another road, and had collected at least 15 bags from the ditches.
As a society, we’re really starting to care. The environment has gone from a Seriously Ignored issue to a Seriously Everywhere issue. For example, on a very quick trip to Indigo from work today, I noticed they now have an entire Go Green section, that mainstream Vanity Fair magazine now puts out an enviro issue, that lululemon across the street is using their window to declare “Stop Global Warming”, and CBC radio was continuing their extensive coverage on efforts to help the planet.
Sara's Trail Runner Magazine article...
Trail Runner Magazine has updated their website recently and archived old issues. The article that Sara had published last year can now be found here.
April 20/Derrick and Sara:
Happy Earth Day!!
Ok, so Mother Nature probably isn't very 'Happy' with the current state of the environment. We, as a species, are really screwing up this planet. It's pretty scary to think of what the world is going to be like in the not-so-near future if changes aren't made now.
In our home, we often have 'House Meetings' on Friday nights with Brennan and Heather about what's new with them, what we're going to do on the weekend and basically just chat about stuff. Recently, we were talking about the environment, the direction it's headed and what we can do to make things better for them when they are adults.
Here are some of the things that we discussed that we'd like to share. Many were already implemented, but are worth repeating and stressing the importance...
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Nothing new here, but needs to be mentioned.
Shopping Bags: Stop using plastic bags. We now keep reuseable shopping bags in our cars so we don't need to use plastic bags.
Compost: You will be amazed how much garbage you will save if you compost. It's really easy to do once you start.
Power: We switched to Bullfrog Power (www.bullfrogpower.com) from Hydro One. Bullfrog Power is the first 100% green electricity retailer in Ontario. Making the switch was simple. Bullfrog Power is the only electricity retailer in Ontario that buys power exclusively from wind and low-impact hydro generators who meet or exceed the federal government's Environmental Choice Program EcoLogo standard for renewable electricity.
Laundry: We no longer use our clothes dryer. Get in the habit of hanging your clothes to dry. Even during the winter months, you can use a small clothesline or rack to dry your laundry.
Lawn Mower: Did you know that running your lawn mower for one hour emits the same amount of pollution as driving your car 600km! Reduce how often you cut your lawn, or better yet, use a more environmentally friendly mower. I just heard about a rebate program being offered where you can take your old mower into Home Depot for a rebate on a new mower. Worth checking out!
Lights: Replacing with energy efficient bulbs.
Green Household Products: Thanks to Debbie for the tips on household cleaners and soaps that are environmentally friendly and healthy. Green Beaver is the company she suggested. Also, Loblaws now carries Green toilet paper, made from 100% recycled paper.
Food: We're trying increasingly to eat organic, grow more of our own veggies, and keep our animal products to organic/free-range where possible, or avoid them altogether. We're also trying to use more reusable food containers, especially for water.
Vehicles: We live about 35km from our work, so it's not really practical for us to consider biking, running or walking to work. However, we schedule our days so that we can travel together and not have to take the second car 4 out of 5 days. When we need to replace our car, we also look forward to driving a more environmently friendly vehicle (smartcar or hybrid).
Solar/Wind power: The thought of 'going off the grid' is very appealing and a dream/future goal that we have. Solar and windpower are options that we hope to pursue more in the near future for our home.
Vote Green: It's an exciting time for the Green Party of Canada, and it feels good to vote for real change.
Tell people: It's great to do this stuff, but even better to talk to others about it and be an example. Nobody likes to be preached at, but letting others know it's easy to make small changes.
It's pretty scary to think about what the future holds. It's not just about climate change, but also pollution, urban sprawl, ecological damage, mass extinction of species, etc. If we all do our part, it can really help.
As for celebrating Earth Day... we plan to celebrate by doing a road cleanup and picking up the trash along the side of our road. Then it's off to the woods for a good trail run and hike!
Happy Earth Day!
April 4/Sara and Derrick:
Snowshoe Season ends...
There are still a few stubborn snowbanks lingering along north-facing overhangs, but around them, the grass is starting to green from the spring rains, and the memories of winter are all that is left. The beginning of March saw us wrap up our snowshoeing season with the final Mad Trapper of the season, which was the Canadian Championships, and then, six short days later, the U.S. Championships in Minnesota.
The Canadian event was held on an extremely hilly course, made extra difficult by a fresh load of snow from a storm the day before, while Maple Grove was the opposite, with perfectly groomed trails running over a fairly flat course. Temperatures were a balmy 10 Celsius, and a blazing sun made for spring snowshoeing conditions.
Sara: My Canadian race didn’t end up happening. I ended up dropping out less than ten minutes into the race, feeling really off, and not up to passing through knee deep snow on top of the already challenging course. Snowshoe teammates Sarah Rowe and Joscelyn Coolican came first and second, respectively, both of them capping off excellent seasons. At the U.S. Championships, things went a little better for me. It was a strong field that went out really fast. By 2km I was dying, so I slowed down and tried to hold on as best I could. I was happy enough to finish around mid-pack, be under an hour, and to hang up the shoes at the end of a tiring season.
Derrick: Some nagging winter injuries left me feeling a little less than confident going into the Canadian Championships. The deep snow conditions and my falling a couple of times in the first few minutes didn't help my confidence, however the second half of the race was a little more encouraging. The US Championships proved to be a totally different course and making the switch from slogging through deep snow to trying to hold a fast pace right from the start left me ready to cough up a lung. The competition was great and I was happy to finish the season upright, although maybe a little slower than hoped.
Now, after three months of running almost exclusively on snowshoes, it is an adjustment running on road and trail again. It's starting to come together, and though we're not feeling particulary fast, there's a strength from snowshoe running that feels like something to build on.
Next year, were looking forward to combining two winter loves, with a Dogsled and Snowshoe Winter Camping Trip. The huskies are already dreaming about it, and so are we! We'd also like to take part in one of the longer snowshoe races in the area, like the 6 Hour event in Rochester, or the Pittsfield Marathon in Vermont. Something about running a marathon on snowshoes is very appealing, and we've heard great things about this race.
We are extremely fortunate to be provided with great gear from La Sportiva shoes, Wigwam Socks and Petzl Headlamps. We strongly feel that these are the best on the market and recommend them highly. Our sponsor page has been updated with short gear reviews on some of the products that we use. We welcome you to take a look and if you have any questions about these or any other products, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan 26 - Winter Fun – Human
Winter weather has finally arrived, and we’ve been having loads of fun around our place skating, snowshoe running and dogsledding. We had our first snowshoe race at Mendon Ponds Winterfest in Rochester last weekend, and are looking forward to more races in the coming weeks, plus both the Canadian and U. S. Snowshoe Nationals in March.
This season, we’re continuing to contribute regular reports to the Athlete’s Blog at Snowshoe Magazine Online (www.snowshoemag.com/blog.cfm). We’ve also been enjoying Debbie’s monthly travel column at http://www.snowshoemag.com/editor.cfm, where she has her own dedicated page this year. It’s a great place to find out more details about (and get inspired from) some of Debbie and Jack’s many interesting travels.
We are also thrilled to be continuing on with La Sportiva’s Mountain Running Team for 2007 (www.mountainrunningteam.com). La Sportiva is introducing some new shoes to their mountain running lineup this year, notably the Fireblade, Raceblade, and Sonic TR. They look like awesome shoes, and we can’t wait to try them.
Jan 20 – Mendon Ponds Snowshoe (Rochester, NY)
Jan 27 – Mad Trapper Snowshoe (Low, PQ)
Mar 4 – Canadian Snowshoe Championships (Low, PQ)
Mar 10 – United States Snowshoe Championships (Minneapolis, MN)
Mar 18 – Achilles Track Club St. Patrick’s Day 5km - Race Directing (Kingston, ON)
May 12 – Ganaraska 25km Trail Race (Barrie, ON)
Jun 9 – 5 Peaks Durham Forest Trail Race (Uxbridge, ON)
Jun 23 – Emilie’s Run 5k (Ottawa, ON) Sara
Jul 28 – Canmore Challenge Mountain Race (Canmore, AB)
Sep 8 – Haliburton Forest 50k or 50 miler (West Guilford, ON) Nov 4 - Sydenham Fall 5km - Race Directing Plus some other road and trail races, TBD
Winter Fun – Canine
The huskies are getting fitter with all the sledding they’ve been doing lately. They just love it, and usually send us a chorus of contented howls after we return. Derrick did a night run this week, and the crisp conditions, fast trail, and enthusiastic (to say the least) dogs, all came together for a perfect run. He didn’t howl after, but he was certainly grinning a lot.
We’re planning on doing a couple of “4-Dog/4-Mile” races this year. Meela, our Siberian, has been so impressive, holding her own and more with the three Alaskans. It’ll be really special to let her strut her stuff in a race. Willy, with his chronic leg wound finally healed (after 7 years!), is rarin’ to make up for lost time, ten year old Cody, a veteran of many races, is still going strong, and Jesse is one enthusiastic and energetic pup!
Feb 3 – Marmora 25 Mile Dogsled Race (Marmora, ON) - Derrick, with one of Duane Ramsay’s Alaskan teams
Feb 10/11 – Rideau Lakes Cup 4-Dog/4-Mile Dogsled Race (Newboro, ON) Feb 17 – Frosty Frolics 4-Dog/4-Mile Dogsled Race (Bancroft, ON)
Rants Archives: To view our 2005-2006 Rants, please see below.
Welcome to the Derrick Spafford and Sara Montgomery ‘RANTS’ page. This is where we share things of interest (to us anyhow), and give you an idea of what makes us tick. We hope you enjoy it......
The dogs are crazy about winter. They love playing hockey!
For more (with lots of barking and tail wagging) check out our videos on YouTube.
Neeka - Killer instinct and psychotic ball hog. High pitched yipping and whining can be heard for miles.
Meela - She'd rather be pulling a sled, but plays well when she feels like it. Has the potential to take over, but...why bother??
Mali - Defensive player of the year. Fetch? No thanks! Booming baritone bark can be heard for miles.
Willy - Gangly and long-legged, the ice really slows him down. Loves being around the girls though.
Cody - "The Ref". Mostly hovers just outside the play area. Naps a lot.
Jesse - New to the game (and to slippery ice) but getting the hang of it. Good natured, will let the slower dogs have the puck.
Coach Derrick - What a slapshot on this guy!!
In Search of Snow...
Many would think that living in Canada, by mid-November we would be up to our armpits in snow, however since global warming has reared its ugly head, this is not the case.
We have been anxiously awaiting the first significant snowfall for weeks. So much so in fact that we traveled south to the Adirondacks over the American Thanksgiving weekend in search of some of the white stuff to train on. The plan for our training weekend was to head out early on the Friday, find a nice log cabin near Lake Placid to base ourselves out of, then spend Saturday and Sunday running some of the trails and mountains in the area. We were hoping that we would find some snow on the higher peaks where we could finally strap on our snowshoes for an early season run.
The Adirondacks have 46 peaks over 4000 feet and is a trail runner’s paradise. There are so many different routes you can take to link up various high peaks. We had planned on tackling Mt Marcy, which is the highest peak in New York at 5,344 feet. With any kind of luck, we would come across some snow. We decided to take the route up Marcy beginning at South Meadow. The first 3 miles was very smooth, flat and runable, but alas, no snow. As the route started to get steeper, it was obvious that while snow wasn’t going to be a factor in our ascent of Marcy, ice was. While our trusty La Sportiva Rajas handled the wet rock and roots exceptionally well, once we got to within about a mile of the summit, we realized we would not be able to run further without better grip on the ice. We did not come equipped with crampons, but did bring sheet metal screws, which we screwed into the outsoles of our Rajas. This gave us the traction we needed to summit Marcy safely. It was a beautiful day at the top of Marcy and you could see for miles. Surprisingly, due to the icy conditions, it actually took us 10 minutes longer to descend.
Even though there was no snow on Marcy, we felt as though Saturday was great training, with the long run and tough climb. When Sunday rolled around, we were a little spent from our challenging run the previous day, but since we were there and the trails were beautiful, we decided to tackle another 4000 foot mountain. From the trail maps and guidebooks we had, Mt. Cascade was listed as being the ‘easiest’ of the 4,000ft mountains in the Adirondacks, and easy definitely sounded appealing to our tired muscles. After a large breakfast, we set out to run up Cascade. Whereas Marcy gave us a bit of time to warm up before the steep climbing started, with Cascade we were in Oxygen debt right from the beginning. The run up Cascade didn’t take anywhere near as long as Marcy, but was certainly very challenging. The weather at the summit was very unsettled with high winds, so we didn’t hang around for long before heading back down. Once again, no snow!
Our weekend in the Adirondack’s was wonderful training, even if we missed out on the snow we were in search of. We headed back home to continue to wait for the first snow.
The first real snowfall of the year did actually happen just over a week after we got home. In reality, there probably wasn’t really enough to snowshoe run, but I just couldn’t resist. I was done work early that day (sorry Sara!), so rushed home to grab the snowshoes and was back out the door. Oh, how good it felt to be running again with snowshoes and having the snow flying up my back. As with most early season runs, there was plenty of crunching and scraping of snowshoe crampons on rock. Also, with the mild fall we’ve had, the ground was still very soft as I broke through the ice over my ankles in water a couple of times, but I didn’t care. I was finally getting my snowshoe fix.
The weather has since gotten warm again, the snow is all but melted and there’s no more in the forecast for the near future. So, it’s now back to trail running again and dreaming of the next snowfall.
Coming off of our very active Killarney trip, we continued with a holiday mindset last week by eating way too much junk food. On our long run yesterday, we hit rock bottom (I felt like I was sweating french-fry grease), and decided we had to get back to including the odd nutrient in our diet. First, we had to rid the house of the last remaining bag of Evil Doritos. Derrick took care of it in our backyard wood barbecue.
The pyre was carefully constructed in a ceremonial fashion.
The bag has now exploded. This was the tough part, as we could have easily sampled a handful before they burnt to a blackened crisp. And these suckers really burn!
I look on in horror as the opportunity passes.
We then had a big salad, and look how happy it made us! Must have been the mango dressing.
La Cloche Silhouette Trail - Killarney:
For our recent one year wedding anniversary, we decided to renew our vows on the trail and take a trip to Killarney to run/fastpack La Cloche Silhouette Trail.
La Cloche Silhouette Trail is such a beautiful trail featuring many great climbs, descents, clear blue lakes and vast wilderness.
We had a nice stay at Killarney Mountain Lodge on Thursday night, then out on the trail after a big breakfast on Friday morning. Breakfast at the lodge wasn't served until 7:30, so we were a little later than we'd hoped to get away. We didn't hit the trail until about 9am.
We ran La Cloche clockwise, so day one featured many sections that reminded us of Frontenac Park. Beaver dams, small lakes and boggy parts. Luckily, it was dry, but there were plenty of roots that made running a challenge. It would have been brutal for those with recently broken ankles if it had been wet. We stopped at a small lake and enjoyed a hot lunch and a swim before pushing on to campsite H20. Our total running time on day one was 5 hours. H20 was beautiful as we had a tiny, deep lake all to ourselves. The end of day swim was very satisfying. We arrived in good time, so it was nice to enjoy a longer evening to relax, cook a big dinner, have a campfire and get ready for a big day two. All 4 of our feet and ankles held up very well on day one.
Day two started with our standard 3 pkgs of oatmeal each and cowboy coffee (coffee grinds mixed with hot water and spun around in large circles so that the grinds sink to the bottom). We knew this was going to be a long day, with high peaks and long sections without easy water access. The views along the trail were breathtaking. I’ve never seen such beautiful lakes. From many of the higher climbs, the blue/green water looked so clean and appealing. We had some very tough climbs to do today, but it was also surprising how many times we would climb up very high, then drop down just slightly to some excellent running on pine needle trails for extended periods of time. The descents were always the toughest for us with the braking action being tough on our quads and knees…strangely, uphills were always welcome to us. We made quite good time on day two, and once we got to within what we thought was an hour of our campsite (H37), we decided to ditch our packs to take a side trail and make a lighter and faster sprint up to the summit of Silver Peak (the highest peak in Killarney and 4th highest in Ontario). We quickly bearproofed our packs from a tree branch and started our fastest running up the Silver Peak trail. Partway up, we got an unexpected visitor…….rain! It rained hard the rest of the way up and as we made it to the top, the winds picked up and were blowing strong. We made the summit, snapped a quick picture, then carefully ran back down. We reached the bottom safely, with our packs waiting for us. The cold rain was starting to become an issue, so we didn’t waste any time getting our packs back on and running as hard as we could to get to campsite H37. The rain continued and made it a little tricky for the final 45 minutes on the day. As long as we were running, we were ok, but once we stopped to put the tent up, we got pretty cold and were very wet from the rain. We quickly put up the tent, then got inside with whatever dry clothing we could find and waited out the worst of the weather. Finally, the rain slowed down and we were able to enjoy a hot meal before sleep. Our total running time on day two was 8 hours and 35 minutes. We slept well through intermittent showers in the night.
On the morning of day three, we were fortunate that the rain stopped and we were able to get away in good time. The rocky parts of the trail were pretty slippery, but our La Sportiva Rajas gripped like flypaper on most sections. We had some very steep ascents on day three, with one particularly long climb that was a really tough scramble. The view at the top was worth it with a panoramic view of the mountain range and more blue/green lakes below. The running on the early part of the day was pretty tough as you were either scrambling up or climbing down. The toughest downhill came at what was known as “The Crack”. This was a narrow rock cut passage with many loose rocks and boulders. It was pretty tricky coming down and we were thankful to reach the bottom with ankles in place. From there, we assumed that the final 10km would be pretty quick and runner friendly. And for the most part it was, but we still had a long ways to go and it seemed to take forever. The final few climbs were just enough to put us in a place where we didn’t think we’d ever finish, then finally we were back to civilization as we heard the voices of kids in the campground at the bottom of the final hill. It was a very bitter sweet and emotional feeling……being totally spent physically and finally finishing the entire loop……but also, not wanting it to end. Our total running time on day three was 6 hours and 39 minutes.
We had a quick swim at the beach where we parked the car, then headed back to Killarney Mt Lodge for a well earned shower, dinner, beer and an evening of live music. We slept well that night before the long drive home on Monday.
A few memorable things about our trip were:
- The beautiful views of peaks and clear lakes
- The rugged wilderness. Challenging climbs and descents (you were either going up or down for most of the trail. Apparently the Killarney Mountains were once as high as the Rockies!).
- Silver Peak sprint in the rain and just how vulnerable you are in bad weather. We had considered not taking our tent fly at one point to save weight/pack space because the forecast called for a 0% chance of rain. It was only on the morning of day one just before leaving that we decided to take it with us “just in case”, as the forecast had been updated to a 40% chance. We’re very glad we did or we would have been in trouble.
- Food. We did well with food and even had some leftovers. We learned a lot about our bodies from the Rideau Quest last year and how much food we needed. Our meals consisted of oatmeal, peanut butter wraps, dried camp food, instant potatoes, nuts, coffee, tea, Clif Bars, Gels and electrolyte powder drinks. Macadamia nuts were a great addition as they are light in weight, but high in much needed calories and fat.
- Gear. Did well here with our awesome 30 litre GoLite packs. (very comfortable), clothing (GoLite again), tent, stove, water filter/pack bladder, bags, trail shoes (we only received these 2 days before our run from La Sportiva, when we decided that the shoes we were planning on using we were not entirely happy with…..Derrick had no hot spots or blisters, while Sara had some heel blisters, but still much better than the alternative). We’re not sure how much our packs weighed, but expect that they were approx 20 pounds each.
- Health. Derrick’s ankle and achilles were questionable leading up to the run, but ended up never being an issue and felt the best they have since breaking his fibula last fall (they feel great post-run too). Sara had some metatarsal pain in her feet, but doesn’t seem to be anything like last year.
- The sense of accomplishment of completing this run “our way”. The total loop (including the side Silver Peak trail) took just over 20 hours of running time over 3 days.
Laser Rehabilitation Clinic opens in Kingston!
I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting new form of injury rehab. BioFlex Laser Therapy is a relatively new approach to soft tissue injury management. It is one of the strongest, most effective and least invasive therapeutic modalities available. Working at the cellular level (most therapies work at the tissue level), the BioFlex system encourages the body to repair from the DNA up.
BioFlex Laser Therapy has proven to be very effective in the treatment of a wide variety of pathologies. Sports injuries (sprains / strains, muscle tears) respond most quickly. Other conditions such as carpal tunnel syndrome, disc herniations, bursitis and more respond very well.
I will be working as a Certified Laser Therapist and Personal Trainer with Dr. Scot Mundle B.A. (Kin), D.C.in the Kingston clinic, as well as occasionally in his Napanee office.
Having seen first hand how BioFlex Laser has helped many individuals, including myself, I endorse it fully and am excited to be a part of it.
For more information about the Laser Rehabilitation Clinic, please click here.
Happy First Anniversary Sara!!!!
We've had many great adventures already, both big and small, and I've enjoyed sharing each and every one of them with you. I love you more and more each day and look forward to what the future holds for us together.
~ Hard to believe it was just a year ago we were trail running through waist deep water on the Rideau Trail for our honeymoon. :)
KOA and Ganaraska 25km:
On the weekend of May 13, Sara and I ran the Ganaraska 25km Trail Race at Horseshoe Valley Ski Resort about 100km north of Toronto (near Barrie) and was part of the Ontario Ultra and Trail Running Series.
Unsure of what the weather had in store for us, not knowing the area and trying to find something close and affordable (cheap), Sara is the master of searching out good deals online.
With all that in mind, Sara was beaming when she informed me that she found a campsite close to the race site that was ‘FREE’ just for that weekend. Did I mention it was FREE? Well, anyhow, we were still expecting that there was going to be some catch, but couldn’t find anything in the small print, so made the reservations at the KOA in Barrie.
Having never stayed at a KOA, neither one of us was quite sure what to expect. Now, KOA’s has a very unique interpretation of what camping is all about, which I might add is a little different than what we usually look for when camping… Not that there’s anything wrong with that!
Anyhow, the Barrie KOA camping experience came with shoulder to shoulder RV’s crammed as close together as possible, internet access, a mini putt golf course, basketball nets, swimming pool, video arcade and get this…pizza delivery by a golf cart to your campsite! Luckily, we were one of only two groups who were tenting, so it was fairly quiet in our area in comparison. Our tentsite came with a wooden fence divider and hanging flower pot. Luxury! But hey, did I mention it was FREE!
It was going to be tough to top the camping experience at the KOA, but after a good night’s sleep, we headed to the race site on Saturday morning.
The course was held on the cross country ski trails/ski hill and was quite challenging, including some killer climbs, great single track, woodchips and sand hills.
Sara ran aggressively from the gun and held on to finish a strong 3rd place female (17th overall). I was a little nervous going in as this was my first trail race back since breaking my leg in October. I ended up finishing in 4th place and was quite pleased with how things went.
We’re now looking forward to our next race of the summer, and who knows? Maybe, just maybe, there will be a KOA close by.
Hey, it was FREE!
It’s been a little while since we last posted, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been busy. Lots on the go.
First off, it was with a little sadness that the snowshoe racing season came to an end. Our goal going into the winter was to qualify for and run the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in Bolton Valley, Vermont. The race took place on March 25, and even though there was no snow on the drive down, conditions on the mountain were great.
Sara had probably the best race I have ever seen her run and finished in a very strong 8th place female overall. With the past few months of health issues finally behind me, I was happy to finish the race in 51st overall.
Bolton Valley was a beautiful venue for this race (see Sara's finish pic below). We took the opportunity to go for one last snowshoe run up the mountain on the morning after the race, before heading home.
Even though we will miss running in our snowshoes until next winter, it has been wonderful to enjoy some nice long trail runs in shorts and t-shirts again. With Sara and I both now healthy, running is going very well and we are very inspired to train harder than ever for the upcoming racing season.
Speaking of long trail runs, with spring critters now coming out in full force, we have had a number of recent sightings lately including: deer, fox, coyotes, raccoons, porcupines, wild turkeys, wolf and a black bear. We always consider it a great run if we see more wildlife than humans.
News from the pack…
We are pleased to introduce the newest member of our pack. Jesse is a very happy and energetic, 2 year old Alaskan Husky, who comes to us from Duane Ramsay’s Racing Kennel.
Jesse has fit in very well in our dogyard. In fact, Meela especially has taken her under her wing. The two of them wrestle non-stop during off-leash plays, with Willy and Neeka occasionally getting into the action too. Cody (being more mature) and Mali (well….being Mali) are quite content to sit and watch.
March 21/Derrick: La Sportiva Go Lite Mountain Running Team...
La Sportiva has been the world's leading supplier of technical outdoor footwear for 80 years; their trail running shoes maintain this legacy of bold innovation and quality.
GoLite virtually invented the lightweight outdoor gear category; since 1998, GoLite has been dedicated to helping people lighten up and enjoy the outdoors more, whatever their activity.
In a concerted effort to support the growth of trail racing in North America and around the world, La Sportiva and GoLite have joined forces to sponsor a trail and adventure running team for the 2006 race season and beyond. The La Sportiva/GoLite Mountain Running Team was officially announced this week with the launch of their new website www.mountainrunningteam.com
Sara and I are honoured to be included on this team, and are inspired to work hard to have our passion in the sport help take us to the next level.
Jan 23/Sara: Hoffman Notch Snowshoe Race...
This past weekend we traveled to Schroon Lake, New York for the Hoffman Notch Wilderness Challenge 10km snowshoe race.
We arrived on Friday night, and were made to feel right at home as we were welcomed into the Wells House, in Pottersville (just south of Schroon Lake). This quaint inn has been lovingly restored and re-opened by Shirley and Paul Bubar, and was a wonderful place to headquarter our weekend activities. We spent a relaxing evening lounging in our comfortable room, and listening to some live folk music playing downstairs. In the morning, after some hearty bagels and gourmet coffee at the inn, we headed out to the race.
We were both a bit nervous, not knowing what to expect of the snow conditions, the course, or from our bodies as we return from injuries. Thankfully, the Adirondacks had more snow than we currently do, but the conditions were less than ideal because of the recent warm temperatures. Just before the race, all of the racers were shuttled to the heart of the wilderness area, up the mountainside. It started to drizzle just as we were getting ready to run, but once the race started, we headed into cover of the woods, so we barely noticed.
The course included some challenging hills, lots of mud, a beaver dam to scramble across, and even some pretty blue snow made from spilled Gatorade. Most of the course was well covered with snow, but there were numerous stream crossings. It felt crazy to be up to our ankles in water while crossing streams, wearing our snowshoes! This race really had it all, and was a fun challenge. The organizers and volunteers deserve credit for pulling off a very well-supported race in a difficult environment.
In the end, we both met our goal of qualifying to run the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in Vermont in March, with me finishing first in the women’s field, and Derrick finishing tenth overall – an incredible result considering he broke his fibula just three months ago.
2005 Year in Review/Sara and Derrick...
- Derrick leaves Running Room to start Spafford Health and Adventure
- After deciding to get married, we start planning our Rideau Quest
- Compete in our first snowshoe race, with Derrick placing 4th and Sara winning the women’s division
- Two more Mad Trapper snowshoe races, with both of us ending up 2nd in our divisions in the series
- Willy, the lovable Alaskan Husky, joins our pack to increase the number to 5 canines…and counting!
- 4 of our 5 dogs enjoying the winter with plenty of great dogsledding (Mali likes to watch).
- Derrick begins work at Trailhead on a part time basis (great people and great discounts!).
- Serious planning and training for the Rideau Quest, including back-to-back long runs with packs
- Spafford Health and Adventure offers first running clinic in Picton.
- We got married!
- Rideau Quest
- Sara sidelined with foot issues (stress fracture).
- Brennan and Heather compete in their first track meet of the year and finish first and second respectively in the 100m.
- Derrick runs Iroquoia Trail Test 32km and finishes well despite going off trail for 20 minutes
- Derrick runs the Seaton Trail 52km race, finishing 5th while having to “gut” through some stomach troubles
- Sara returning to training
- Sara finishes second in first Bikejoring race with Willy and Cody
- Derrick breaks his fibula
- Dealing with life in a cast and using crutches
- Derrick’s running streak continues with crutch running and crutch snowshoe running
- Spafford Health and Adventure organizes first race, the Sydenham Fall 5km Fun Run.
- Sara and Derrick begin writing blogs on www.snowshoemag.com
- Sara and Derrick selected to race for Team La Sportiva/Go Lite for 2006. Petzl and INgenius also offer sponsorship assistance.
- Derrick gets cast off, and returns to regular running, gradually
- Sara’s adventure article in Trail Runner Magazine is published.
Dec 19/Meela: I just wanted to introduce myself. My name is Meela the Spectacular Sibe, and I'm the honourary Race Director for the Snow Dawg 5k Snowshoe Race. (That's me in the race logo too.) See you on Feb 18th!
Dec 14/Sara: The year is winding down!
In the coming week we'll be posting a Year in Review RANT to look back at the crazy year that was our 2005. We’ve also started looking ahead to 2006, and are in the process of setting some new goals. Also, I’ve heard some behind-the-scene tidbits from Derrick about events that Spafford Health and Adventure plans to hold next year. Some fun things are coming up, which he’ll announce shortly!
Dec 2/Sara: Mill Street Cafe Restaurant Review...
Last friday night we decided to check out Sydenham's newest restaurant, the Mill Street Cafe. What a welcome addition to the community! Our meal was incredible. We were so impressed by the freshness and flavours. In fact, the only word I can think of to describe the potato soup is "heavenly". (Sadly, I think it spoiled me for all other soups on the planet!) The restaurant and its adjoining store offer organic and - where possible - local products. If you're in the area, be sure to check it out!
Nov 25/Derrick: People continue to ask me if my running streak is still alive because of my broken leg. I am pleased to report that it's still going strong and I have no plans to take a day off any time soon! Here is a picture that Sara snapped a few weeks ago of me 'Crutch Running' on the Cataraqui Trail. I have had some great runs on the crutches, combined with some awesome 'Pool Running' workouts. With our recent snowfall, my best run came today when I went for a 'Snowshoe Crutch Run'. With all the fresh snow, it was just so beautiful out. I felt very fortunate to be able to be outside and enjoying it. My next doctor appointment is on December 5 and I hope at that point that I'll be able to get my cast off, or at least, move on to a walking cast.
Sponsors: We are very happy to announce that we will be representing the La Sportiva - Go Lite Running Team for 2006. We strongly feel that these two companies make the best trail running shoes and lightweight running gear on the market and are thrilled to be representing them.
INgenius socks have offered us sponsorship for the upcoming year with their excellent line of performance running socks.
We are also very fortunate to have Petzl providing us with the new high powered, ultra light Tikka XP headlamps for 2006.
Please check out their website's located on our sponsors page.
Snowshoe Magazine Blog: Check out our snowshoe running blog that's now up at www.snowshoemagazine.com.
I’d like to congratulate everyone again on your race on Sunday, and thank all of you for coming out. It was great seeing everyone cross the finish line! A special congrats to all of Derrick’s clinic participants, who I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the past few weeks. I was so impressed by how you carried out your race plans, and put all that hard work and knowledge to the big test! Thank you for welcoming me over the last third of your clinic; it was an honour to be a part of it.
Nov 10/Derrick: Top 10 most peculiar things about breaking your leg...
10) People are genuinely nice to you because they feel sorry for you.
9) Elderly people with walkers or canes hold the door for YOU.
8) Personal hygiene goes out the window. Besides, people don't really expect much from 'a guy in a cast and crutches'......so why the hell bother.
7) Your strict workout schedule is now limited to things that you despise (like swimming and pool running)...........but is still more exciting than playing golf.
6) You spend way too much time on the internet, while checking for email every 30 seconds.
5) You actually find yourself reading and posting on many of the lame blogs and messageboards.
4) You find yourself getting tired of telling people what happened to you that you start making up outrageous story's like: 'I was attacked by the very rare, Yarker Timber Rabbit and it practically chewed my leg to the bone.'
3) You watch people running on the sidewalks and actually wish - - even though you only run trails - - that you were them.
2) People start saying that you look healthy (ie. no running = 'Healthy looking' = puffy).
1) You write the 'Top 10 most peculiar things about breaking your leg' in your own Blog (or Rant).
Oct 31/Derrick: Bikejoring…
As many of you know, we have 5 dogs, 4 of which we dogsled with. This summer and fall we have enjoyed bikejoring with them on the trails near our home. Bikejoring is basically dogsledding on a mountain bike. This is great training for the dogs, not to mention a great deal of fun at the same time.
The Ontario Federation of Sleddog Sports hosted a dryland race on Sunday in Eldorado. Our original plans were to take 2 x 2 dog teams to race, however with my broken leg, Sara was in charge of running the lone team of Alaskan Huskies, Willy and Cody. ‘The boys’ loved the excitement of the race, right from the time that we arrived at the race site.
There were 3 different categories of races: 4 dog cart race, 1 and 2 dog bikejoring. This was Sara’s first opportunity to participate in a race situation and she handled it like a veteran. There were 6 teams entered in her race. Each team was sent out in a 1 minute stagger start. Sara and the boys went out as the second team. The excitement was building with Sara’s countdown to start. She looked calm, the boys were going ballistic wanting to run, and I was getting a little antsy as they still weren’t at the start line with 40 seconds left in their countdown. They finally got to the line with seconds to spare and were then off like a shot.
The boys ran hard and quickly overtook the team that went out first. Sara’s mushing abilities were tested often with many passes. In fact, at one point she was meeting a team and being passed at the exact same time by another. Sara ended up having a great run and finished in second place. It was so impressive to see how well she raced in her first attempt and also that she had a clean run with no problems.
Now we just can’t wait for the snow to fly!
Oct 31/Derrick: Goretex Cast…
I probably drove the doctors at the fracture clinic a little nuts today with the bazillion questions I had about rehabbing my leg. I got some good news though in that I will not need surgery to repair it. They confirmed that the break would heal equally well whether I chose to have it operated on or not. There were no real benefits of having the operation, other than I might recover a few weeks quicker, however I would have had pins/plates in my leg, had a chance of infection, and may have needed to have them removed at some point anyhow.
Choosing a new cast was interesting. I asked about different types of casts that would be lighter than a traditional plaster cast and also if I could swim and pool run with any. The doctors had originally recommended an air cast, which would have been really light and also I could remove it to have a bath. However, it would not be stable enough to swim with. Not really what I was looking for.
They then told me about a Goretex/Fibreglass cast that is waterproof. Perfect!! Being a ‘Gear Geek’, the thought of a Goretex cast made me smile. Even though this cast can’t be removed, it is still about half the weight of a plaster cast, which is really nice.
Now the biggest question was what colour of cast to get? Well, you don’t break your leg every day, so I decided to go with something fun….Fire Engine Red! Brennan and Heather couldn’t wait to sign their names, draw pictures and list their favourite rock bands on it. Brennan went for ‘AC/DC’ much to my shock (I’ve never really been a fan), while Heather decided upon ‘The Ramones’ (that’s better).
Before my appointement, I had an awesome crutch run (with my old cast) at Lemoines where I ran for 20 minutes at an average heartrate of 163 beats per minute. My heartrate reached as high as 177bpm at one point. I was thrilled that this was, in fact, within the range that I would normally do a tempo run at.
I’m now actually really looking forward to my crutch run today with my new ‘high tech’ cast. I’ll probably give it a few more days before I start pool running.
Oct 26/Derrick: Ankle...
Sara and I were feeling pretty excited having just finished planning our winter training and racing schedule on Sunday evening. Sara’s stress fracture was now healed and hard training was to officially start on Monday.
Monday’s run started like any other. Easing into it for the first few miles, the trail was a little wet, but we were enjoying the smell of the fall leaves on the ground. Then, before I knew what had happened, I slipped on some mud and my left foot slid into a deep puddle of water. As I fell, my body twisted awkwardly inward. I knew right then this was not good. Usually we have found that if we can continue to walk or run a little on a turned ankle, it helps to loosen it up and you eventually feel much better. This was not the case though. I couldn’t put any weight on it at all without a great deal of pain.
I was so glad that Sara was there with me as we had a 20 minute hobble back out the trail to the road. Sara then sprinted off to get the car to come back and get me. We went directly to Kingston General Hospital and I was relieved to discover that the emergency room doctor working that night was fellow runner, Bob McGraw. Bob got me in quickly and after looking at the x-rays confirmed that my fibula was broken, just above my ankle. I would be in a cast for at least the next 6 weeks. I was comforted by the fact that Bob had gone through the exact same injury ten years earlier and had come back to compete in various road races and triathlons.
I had a whole range of emotions overflowing all day Tuesday as a result of this. As many of you know, I have a running streak that dates back to December 25, 1989 of not missing a single day of running. I have been able to run through such things as achilles tendonitis, patella femoral syndrome, torn hamstrings, illiotibial band syndrome, plantar fasciaitis, bursitis, back injuries, steven’s johnsons syndrome, colds/flu, pneumonia, hangovers, personal crisis and any work commitments that have come up. And now, I get grounded by this.
After feeling pretty sorry for myself for quite a while, I felt like I needed a run now like I’ve never needed one before. So, I decided to go for a ‘crutch run’. I started by just going as fast as I could on the crutches and seeing if I could get my heartrate up as high as if I was running. I was very surprised to discover that I was able to move quite quickly. I then started thinking about how Terry Fox ran with a double hop on his good leg and thought I’d try that too.
My 20 minute crutch run ended up consisting of alternating between hopping twice with my good leg, and double polling on my crutches. I finished the run feeling like I had achieved a good cardiovascular workout (average heartrate was 134 bpm), but also felt like I had some new hope and optimism for the next 6 weeks. I don’t know if I will continue to do crutch runs for the next several weeks or not, but I feel good that at least for today, my running streak is still alive, and it will be my choice, if and when, I decide to take a day off. As discouraging as it is to break your leg, I have also come to the realization that it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
Oct 5/Sara: Just a couple of brief notes….
1. Having witnessed Derrick at Seaton Trail (below), I can verify that he was one HSD (Hurtin’ SwampDawg). I’ve never been so impressed by one of his races before though. He dug way down deep in order to finish that race, and certainly earned an incredible feeling of accomplishment.
2. Knocking on wood hard here, but I feel that my foot troubles are really coming around. A solid training week just sort of happened last week, and after some frustrating days there in September it feels great to hit the cooler weather in better shape.
3. The Trail Runner article on our Rideau Quest was rescheduled to the December/January issue, if anyone was looking for it.
Sept 24/Seaton Trail 52km/Derrick: I have had a some issues in the last few races I’ve entered and this one was no different…
The race was 52 km on the Seaton Trail (13km trail that you ran out and back on twice). Course was quite nice with a total of 8 water crossings, 4 swinging bridge crossings, some very tough hills climbs and a nice view in places on a high cliff overlooking the river the race followed. It seemed really weird at times as you could hear the sirens and landfill site a few miles away even though it looked like you were in the middle of nowhere. It will be sad when soon a number of parts of this trail will be surrendered to the concrete jungle and developed for residential use. There were not a huge number of runners in the field, but some very good ultra runners. I am just amazed at how some of these runners seem to be racing some very long races every few weeks. Very impressive.
My race went pretty well for the first 25km. I was running strong, but controlled and felt quite good......until about 30km. I then started to have some stomach problems. I had been taking energy gels (which I always use) with water, but my body started to reject them. I then went through a pretty nasty period between 30-40km where I ended up bent over and throwing up 4 times. Also took a few tumbles just to bruise my ego, and other, a little further. Didn't really think I was going to finish at that point. However, I had some coke and electrolyte drink at a few aid stations and started feeling a little better. It wasn't really a lot of fun at times, but very glad that I was able to finish (especially after going off course in my last few trail races). Ended up finishing 5th in a pretty slow time of 4:58, but was glad to cross the line and get an 'official' finish in.
Ultramarathons seem to be such a learning experience. You just can’t totally prepare yourself in training for what you will experience on race day and this just proved it. The memories of the bad patches have already worn off though and I’m already looking forward to the next one!
We never really seem to plan our races on good weekends. Or is it that our friends and family seem to plan their weddings on race weekends? Such was the case again this weekend as we rushed back to Kingston for our friends, Paul and Stacy’s wedding. We made it back with time to spare and had a great evening. Sara was well prepared and even stashed a sleeping bag in the car in case I got tired. I am pleased to report however that I made it to the end of the evening, tired but upright, and even managed to dance the last dance!
Sept 20/Sara: Since I won’t be running around Frontenac Park any time soon, my aim is to make the most of each run I am able to do. So, this past Saturday, after Derrick ran a 5K race in the morning, we set out to play on a new trail in Charleston Lake Park, near Lansdowne. We’d heard about the trail from a couple of friends, and knew that it started just outside the southern end of the park and climbed to the top of “Blue Mountain”. I have been feeling deprived of “real trails” lately, so was eager for this little adventure.
We had little to go on to find the trailhead, but with our trusty Backroads map in hand we set off to scout the area and sniff out the trail. An hour later, and with our truck low on fuel, we finally decided that a “Trail Closed” sign must mark the spot we were looking for. The first 3 minutes of the trail was a slight impression of path, and took us through thick bramble bushes. After this it met up with what appeared to be a new snowmobile trail construction zone, and we enjoyed some very deep muck and a few water crossings. We felt like we were right back on the Rideau Quest. Eventually the trail improved, and we had a few pretty views and found a very beautiful side loop, but it turned out to only be 50 meters long! Eventually we ended up at a small lake where we turned around. There were a lot of rocks on this run, and my feet were complaining a bit, so I was happy when we made it back to the car.
From the map it looked like we might be able to take a shortcut, and keep going on the narrow road straight back to the highway, instead of turning around and going back the way we came. Derrick joked that we’d probably find another trailhead up ahead with flashing arrows and a big neon sign saying “Welcome Derrick and Sara”. I was just worried about getting off this increasingly narrow, bumpy and pothole-infested “road” without running out of gas. Derrick had to climb out of the truck in front of every large puddle blocking our path, to assure me that we could make it through. I didn’t want to turn around, but some of these puddles were very deep and getting stuck in here would not be a good option either.
My stress level was climbing a bit. As we crested a steep hill, we saw a fallen tree across the road. But heck, it didn’t look that big, we were sure we could move it. Out we both hop, turning off the truck to save gas. Many minutes of pushing and pulling this way and that, and we finally cleared the way.
One more obstacle like that one, and I was turning around! By now I was really getting agitated. We bumped and rolled along until the end seemed to be in sight, but it looked like one final swamp stood in the way. Derrick sensed my deteriorating mood, and offered to run ahead to check it out. I turned the car off again, and rested my head on the steering wheel, trying not to think about backing up through all of those potholes now behind us, as turning the truck around would be impossible. I was hungry and cranky, and just wanted a way out.
Looking up, I saw Derrick return with a smile and the report that, true enough, the “real” trailhead was just ahead, as was the turn in the road the brought us back to civilization. I gratefully gave up the wheel and closed my eyes as he navigated us through the remaining swamp, expertly maneuvering past a large tree trunk that I’m pretty sure I would have hit.
As we passed the huge yellow trailhead sign marking the dry, perfect, well-maintained single-track leading to the beautiful little summit we missed out on, we had to laugh at our own stupidity. Derrick negotiated the remaining stretch of dirt road back, and gleefully noted the truck’s mud splattered windows. I was not impressed, and drew his attention to the awful stench from our muck-encrusted shoes.
We made it to the gas station, and to our visit with my parents in Gananoque, showing up, as usual, filthy and starving, in need of a hot shower and big meal. We were tempted to go back and run the real trail after lunch, but decided it would have to wait for another day. Next time we won't take any "shortcuts", and we'll drive in the "back way" to save ourselves a bit of grief!
Sept '05/Derrick: Frontenac Park – Northern Perimeter Run: Sara and I have run every inch of every trail at Frontenac Park (we call it 'Our Park'), multiple times each year. It’s just such a great place to play. We always keep track of what wildlife we see on our runs and consider it an extra special run if we see more deer than hikers on the trails.
We use to feel a little intimidated by the size of Frontenac, but now that we are running longer and longer distances, we feel that there are some very interesting challenges we would like to attempt. We are not aware of any speed standards set on any of the trails, so we thought we’d start keeping record of some, not only to try to improve upon ourselves, but also for other trail runners to attempt. The one that keeps coming up in conversation is that of trying to run the entire perimeter of Frontenac Park. In fact, this thought recently inspired me to attempt to run the northern perimeter of the park.
Armed with a two litre water pack, Clif Bars and Gels, I started the run fairly early in the day from the Trail Center at the main entrance. My route followed the Corridor Trail, Arkon West, south shore of Birch Lake on Tetsmine towards Kingsford Dam, Gibson Lake, then back along the north trail of Big Salmon Lake to the Corridor and then finally back to the Trail Center. This was such a great run and I enjoyed every minute of it (the only thing missing was that Sara was not able to join me as she’s still recovering from a stress fracture). I was very pleased that I was able to finish the Northern Perimeter in a time of 3 hours and 42 minutes.
Having now set a standard for the Northern part of the park, the goal will be to run the entire perimeter of the park. Once the racing season is over, I’ll probably look at attempting this in late October. Should be fun!
Aug '05/Dreaming of Winter: We couldn't wait for the snow to fly, so we took our snowshoes to the sand for a good workout.
Brennan and Heather enjoying some crazy downhills on their snowshoes too.
July '05/Dogsledding in the Summer: Well, actually bikejoring is the proper term in referring to being pulled by a dogteam on a mountain bike. Meela, Cody and Willy are pulling Derrick at top speed through the trails on a cool summer evening. We are planning to compete in a bikejoring race in October.
Mali, our non-sleddog, wanted to get into the action and proove that she could be a real sleddog too (if she really wanted to). Mali gets a little help from the other member of our team, Neeka. I don't know who was more proud (Sara or Mali) that she was actually doing it!
June '05/Rideau Quest Honeymoon Adventure and Fundraiser (a long read. Our journal starts from May, then leads right up to our run at the end of June):
RIDEAU QUEST FUNDRAISER
A Kingston couple is planning a most unusual honeymoon. Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford who will wed on June 20th, will then set off on a one-week end-to-end run/fastpack of the Rideau Trail, starting in Ottawa and working their way back home to Kingston.
The Rideau Trail is a hiking trail that runs over 300 km from Ottawa to Kingston. The trail is mostly single-track through rugged Canadian Shield, and is linked in some sections by road. It passes through Marlborough Forest, Murphy’s Point Provincial Park, Foley Mountain Conservation Area, Frontenac Provincial Park, and Gould Lake Conservation Area.
Fastpacking (short for fast backpacking) involves running with a very light pack and carrying necessary gear with you as you go. The Rideau Trail passes through many communities where they will be able to replenish their food and water supplies. Their aim is to cover about 50km each day, and the entire trip will take six days total.
Sara and Derrick are both avid runners and spent much of 2004 seeking out interesting mountain and trail races in the northeastern U.S and Ontario, including the Mt. Washington Road Race, the Escarpment Trail Run in the Catskills, the Iroquoia Trail Test 32 km, and the Haliburton Forest 50km in Ontario. Through the winter months they train on running snowshoes and compete in snowshoe racing events. “We love the outdoors, and the idea of a multi-day running challenge is intriguing to us. It is a way for us to step outside of ordinary life for a time, and gain a larger appreciation of nature” said Montgomery and Spafford.
The couple trains with their five dogs, (Neeka and Mali were shelter dogs, Meela is an excitable Siberian Husky, and Cody and Willy are retired racing sled dogs) and take pride in their dogs being fit, happy, healthy, and very well loved. Neeka, a pointer cross, may accompany them for a portion of their run.
The couple, long time supporters of the Kingston Humane Society, are asking for donations to the Kingston Humane Society and the Rideau Trail Association from anyone who would like to support their run.
NEWS & UPDATES:
May 10, 2005
Plans and training are coming together! We have been doing many long training runs in Frontenac Park, and sections of the Rideau Trail. Doing back-to-back long runs is a new concept to throw into our training, as is running with packs. The first few times were challenging, but we’ve progressed to the point where we can pull these off much more comfortably.
The biggest puzzle is gear…balancing comfort while we’re running (i.e. going as light as possible) with comfort when we stop (i.e. making sure we have what we need). Fortunately, there are many great options for ultra-light running packs and sleeping bags which will make this task much easier to accomplish. Our goal is to stay under 15 lbs each.
Speaking of gear, we’re so grateful to some wonderful sponsors who have stepped in and offered us products to use on the run. Petzl, Adidas and InGenius have already delivered incredible clothing, shoes and equipment for us.
An exciting aspect of the run is that, with the help of Derek Cooper Photography (www.derekcooper.com), we are documenting the trip for an article in TrailRunner Magazine (www.trailrunnermag.com). The magazine has accepted the story idea on spec, which means there is a good chance it will be published in an upcoming issue! Derek has agreed to meet us on the trail as we enter Frontenac Park, and spend the evening and next day taking some of his great photos for us. We’re going to try to look as grubby as possible to make them really authentic!
The Rideau Trail Association and The Kingston Humane Society are planning to greet us at the Kingston end of the trail as we finish on June 26th, around 6:00 pm. We are issuing an open invitation to anyone who would like to join us there. We would love to see you! Anyone who would like to donate to either of these great organizations can do so by following the links below to their websites.
Derrick’s long-time friend Bob Tysen ran this trail 20 years ago in an astonishing sub-4 (days that is!). We’ve invited Bob to run with us over the last few miles, and can think of no one more fitting to have with us as we cross the finish line. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that his racing schedule allows this to happen.
Finally, we are planning to phone in daily updates from the trail, and Peter Montgomery (Sara’s dad) has offered to post them for us. Bookmark this page and check back for further updates.
May 13, 2005:
98.3 FLY FM will be interviewing us about the Rideau Quest on Wednesday, May 18th at approximately 8:20am.
May 15, 2005/Derrick:
We just got back from Frontenac Park and our toughest test in training yet. Starting from the East End of the park, we had a very challenging run of Gibson, Tetsmine, Lynch and Little Clear Lake Loops. This was the closest simulated run we've done so far as we ran with weighted backpacks. The biggest thing we realized from this run was how important it will be to stay on top of our food intake. Energy Gels, sports bars and fruit gummies got us through. We were just starving by the end and hit the nearest take-out fish & chip shop to refuel (not ideal recover food, but we were HUNGRY!). The Rideau Trail goes through many small communities, so any 'all you can eat restaurants' should consider yourselves fairly warned for next month!
May 23, 2005/Sara:
Training continued this weekend with a diversion of a trail race while in Toronto on Saturday. It was a short sprint of 14 km, which sounds easier than what we will be doing next month, but our bodies are not currently trained for the faster pace required of this type of race, and so we both found it pretty humbling. After the race we brushed ourselves off, and Derrick dropped me off for a fun afternoon with my girlfriends, while he picked up some supplies, including some fancy titanium sporks! Today we did a 1:45 run at (where else) Frontenac Park, which felt surprisingly good (though Derrick must have raced harder than me, as he was still a bit gimpy). The fact that today's run was a ' 7 deer run ' (sightings) made it even that much more enjoyable! It was a chilly day, so we warmed up afterwards by diving into big bowls of Derrick's vegetarian chile (with pineapple, yum), which gave us a chance to test out the sporks. Thankfully they worked great, so they are approved to take up precious space and weight in our packs.
May 29, 2005/Derrick:
“MY TAPER STARTS NOW!” These were the words that Sara once told me at the end of a final, particularly difficult long run before we were to start cutting back on our mileage prior to a marathon. These exact words were echoed by myself during today’s run…….. We enjoyed a fun filled time with Brennan & Heather (Derrick’s kids) this weekend with plenty of outdoor activities, including cycling, gardening and testing out our new lightweight camping gear. This, combined with going to Sara’s sister-in-law’s art show (www.heatherhaynes.com) on Saturday night (very fun!), left us feeling more like a nap was in order than our final difficult long run leading up to the Rideau Quest. Once we got to Frontenac Park, we started to feel a little stronger though. Our plan was to run the Cedar Lake and Slide Lake Loop. This is the most difficult section of the park, and has literally reduced us to whimpering a number of times in the past. We wanted to do a trial run with our weighted packs as well, so this promised to be a very challenging run. We didn’t get started until late in the afternoon, so we knew we had to run briskly to beat the sunset. We both felt surprisingly strong for the entire run and commented a number of times how these longs runs are paying off, and that we’re feeling ready. We were treated to a number of great views, including the legendary “Great Rock” which overlooks beautiful Slide Lake. We only had one deer sighting today, but were fortunate enough to see this frisky fawn three different times along the trail. She kept running ahead and would then get a little spooked when we caught up. The last 30 minutes of a long run are always the toughest, but we plucked our way through and finished before dark. I seemed to be feeling the day a little more today than Sara, and announced wearily while getting into the car that “My taper starts now!” With the Rideau Quest now only 3 weeks away, we will turn our focus away from the really long runs and start cutting back a little on our high mileage, to allow our bodies to recover.
May 30, 2005/Sara:
With Slide Lake now over (with sore legs to prove it), I'm so happy it's time to taper. I excel at this part of training! During a race taper I enjoy reading books about really challenging endurance feats, like To the Edge (about the Badwater ultra), hard-core training stories, like Once A Runner, or about overcoming real obstacles in life, like Lance Armstrong’s cancer recovery in It’s Not About the Bike. It makes whatever run I’m about to do seem so much easier and inconsequential in comparison. This time around I chose something at the very top in terms of inspiration, and have started reading Terry Fox: His Story. I think we all draw inspiration from our Canadian hero's incredible courage and determination. My friend Leanne, who for years has been very involved with the Terry Fox Run, often refers to Terry during her marathon training. As well, she was able to pass on her enthusiasm for running to many of her friends and family to run their first half, and then full marathons, myself included. (Thanks Lea!)
“I got satisfaction out of doing things that were difficult. It was an incredible feeling. The pain was there, but the pain didn’t matter. But that’s all a lot of people could see; they couldn’t see the good that I was getting out of it myself.” Terry Fox
June 5, 2005/Sara & Derrick
The original plan this weekend was to do an overnight fastpack, but we changed our minds at the last minute and decided to embrace the idea of doing a lot more taper, and a lot less training. We figure the “hay is in the barn”, as the expression goes, so the best thing we can do for the last two weeks leading up to the big effort is to get lots of rest and recovery. We did manage a 95 minute frolick through the forest today, which, given the fact it was 27 degrees, sunny, and humid, was good heat acclimatization. On the way to the park we were half wishing we could have brought our snowshoes….enough of the heat and mosquitos already! The pace of the run was surprisingly quick in places. Definitely a sign that the long runs have been paying off and that we are starting to feel a little more recovered. As a treat, mid run, we stopped at Birch Lake for a swim. This was the second lake swim of the weekend as on Friday night we ran with two of our pack (Neeka and Mali) into Gould Lake for a refreshing dunk as well. We continue to fine tune and play with different combinations of lightweight gear for our run. The latest acquisitions this week were toothbrushes with toothpaste in the handles (how cool!), a tiny carabiner knife and our favourite lipbalm.
Another bit of news we just received this week was that our friend Bob Tysen will be able to run us in on the last day of our run. You may remember that Bob ran the Rideau Trail in 1983 and is very much to blame for giving us the idea to do the same. At first, we weren’t sure if Bob would be able to make it because of his racing schedule, but even though he is racing that morning, he said he would be back in time to join us for our final run in.
June 7, 2005/Sara:
We received the most interesting package in the mail yesterday. It was from our friends Deb and Dan (aka The Infamous “Lawless Johnsons”), who are currently working in Taiwan for a little company called Nike…heard of it? Well, these two must have pulled some strings, and gained access into the innermost cogs of the company (again!), and as a result, we now have a couple of very personalized Nike Dri-Fit shirts to wear on our run! The back has a big emblazoned picture of He-and-She Nikes tied together, and the words “300 km of Wedded Bliss”. The front has the Rideau Trail logo and “Rideau Quest”….well not quite, it actually reads “Rideau Crest”. Deb assures us that the Crest/Quest interchange makes the shirts more authentically Taiwanese! We got an extra kick out of it because I had just recently been scratching my head and saying to myself over and over “Rideau Quest, Rideau Quest”…. has that name been used before?? Why is it so familiar?? Turns out I was thinking of Rideau Crest Home for the Aged here in Kingston. (We might be ready for a few days of R&R there around June 26th!) Anyway, thanks a bunch D&D, we’ll wear them with pride!!
June 10, 2005/Derrick:
Sara and I have talked about this each time before a big race and I seem to have a real love/hate relationship with ‘The Taper’. I know it wasn’t long ago that I wrote I was looking forward to it, but am now getting pretty antsy and just want to RUN MORE! It’s a good sign that we are starting to get pretty recovered and all, but I just really struggle with the whole thing. I like the feeling of running a lot, being in tune with your body, pushing it a little more in training each day, while having a goal to work towards. Everything right now though is about recovery. There is nothing we can do to improve our fitness at this point, but plenty we can do to harm it by doing too much. So, we now have all this energy and can’t throw it into our training. In one sense it is kind of nice to be able to do a few more things that we normally don’t have the time or energy for….with me it’s stuff like getting caught up on a few emails, listening to and playing music and reading. Having said that, I may be guilty of trying to sneak in a few extra runs, excuses for runs and other activities. Yesterday, was an example of that:
8:30am: I started by helping out with my son, Brennan’s gym class. A rollicking game of soccer baseball.
10:00am: Off to the running clinic I instruct in Sydenham, followed by a short run with them.
11:30am: My daughter Heather was on a field trip at Gould Lake, which is very close to Sydenham anyhow, so maybe I’ll pop in and say hi. Instead of driving all the way in, I decided to run in on some of the trails.
12:15pm: I met up with Heather’s class and enjoyed a refreshing swim.
1:00pm: Might as well stay for the pond study. Sounds interesting and get to go for a hike on the trails.
2:00pm: Now, of course, I need to get back to the car, so time for another run. Hmm, since I’m out here, I might as well take a side trip on the rough Tom Dixon Trail to test out the new trail shoes.
2:45pm: Back to the car and a little home time with the dogs.
5:30pm: Now it’s off to Brennan’s soccer game. A tough loss, but his team played well and had fun.
8:30pm: At home and time for a short walk with the dogs before bed.
........Okay, maybe the taper actually starts tomorrow ;)
June 13, 2005/Sara:
Just a week away now, and we’re counting down with anticipation to hitting the trail, having lots of time together, enjoying being in nature, and taking a break from the normal routine.
For me, next week is going to be special and symbolic as a way to celebrate our life together. But it is also about more than a run, an adventure, or even a honeymoon. The two organizations we chose to run for represent special things to us. First, the Rideau Trail Association is one of many organizations that help people maintain their ties with the natural world. Preserving, appreciating, and caring for our environment is an increasingly important goal for everyone these days. Second, the Kingston Humane Society, along with all animal shelters, recognizes that we have a responsibility to care for those animals that humans have domesticated. These furry creatures never chose to be dependent upon humans…we made them that way. None of us has the power to make the world a perfect place, but we all have the power to make the world a better place. These two organizations are made up of dedicated staff and volunteers who do just that.
June 14, 2005/Derrick:
Down to the final week now and working out all the little details. We are still fine tuning our projected run schedule (will post in a few days) and have received some very important support from family and friends who will be doing some food drops for us. This will help to keep our packs as light and runable as possible. The weight of our packs has been a major concern, but we feel that we are trimming off a lot of the fat by going with some of the following lightweight gear.........Tent: 1.67kg, Sleeping Bags: 936g, Water Filter: 312g, Stove: 96g(!!!), Petzl Headlamps: 100g. Even the little things make such a difference. Take deodorant for instance (I know, probably not necessary, but this is our honeymoon and we are going to be on the trail running for a week!). I didn't really want to have a big container of deodorant taking up valuable space and weight, so thought that the perfect solution would be to buy a small travel/sample size. The only problem is that all the brands and flavours that are offered are brutal, and Adidas (of course) doesn't make a small size. So.........time to start creating. I bought a small container, removed the bad deodorant and thought I could replace it with my beloved Adidas deodorant. Not so easy, different sizes. Out comes the Swiss Army knife and after a very gooey mess, I made my own. All good. (Seanna, can you please put in a good word at Adidas for smaller sizes!) We will continue to tinker with our backpacks right up until Monday and try to save those extra few grams. Our original goal is to get under 15 pounds. When our friend Magi Scallion saw this (Magi is a national class cross country skiier I use to work with, who has a great sense of humour, but sometimes leaves me scratching my head in confusion and disbelief) she promptly emailed...
"I am a little bit concerned about you two. I read on your update, 'Our goal is to stay under 15 lbs each.' I just want you to know that I think this is very unhealthy. As most adults of your size weigh at least 120 lbs on the skinny side of healthy, I think your goal of 15 lbs is a bit crazy. Basically a death wish. Perhaps you should aim for 115 lbs or something like that. Still not healthy but its far better than the original goal."
......Too funny, but I still don't know if she was serious or not ;)
The number of updates is increasing as we get closer, isn’t it?
It cracks me up that we’ve actually gotten more curious looks at the fact we’re getting married on a Monday than about the fact we’re running 300 km for our honeymoon! Well, to offer some explanation as far as the Monday goes, we originally thought we’d do a courthouse ceremony, so a weekday would be required. This decision worked out perfectly in conjunction with our friends Barb and Geordie getting married this Saturday in Picton. We’re really happy to be able to go to their wedding, and are looking forward to it a lot. It's kind of neat too that we get to start our run on the Summer Solstice, with a big full moon to keep us company at night throughout the run!
I’m grateful we’re able to put some thoughts down here, and be able to share our experience with family and friends in this little way. Since we’re having such a tiny wedding, it really fills that void of wanting to share this experience with more of our loved ones. We’re so touched by how supportive everyone has been, and will be carrying those positive sentiments with us throughout the week, from across the miles and directly into our hearts.
One of the reasons we wanted to get married in the first place, was that we had this huge compulsion to “shout from the rooftops” how much we love each other. Derrick, the internet will have to stand in for a rooftop for now….Finding you, my twin soul, has been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I sensed deep down, from the beginning, that we’d be together forever. I’m continually grateful for the wonderful life we share, and that my love for you grows stronger each day. You have truly added the colour to my life, and I cannot imagine my life without you. Thank you for the person you are, and for loving who I am.
The Projected Trail Schedule continues to be tinkered with, but this is where we are at right now.
Tue, June 21/54km
Evening: - Jock Trail @ Greens Road (Paul Spafford, Jennifer Thompson, Matthew & Michael)
Wed, June 22/46km
Morning: Jock Trail
Afternoon: McConnell @ Burchill Road - (Joanne Gunning)
Evening: Smiths Falls
Thu, June 23/55km
Morning: Smiths Falls
Evening: Murphy's Point (Neil Serres & Andrea Raymond)
Fri, June 24/35km
Morning: Murphy's Point
Afternoon: North Shore Road
Evening: Westport (Judy & Peter Montgomery)
Sat, June 25/55km
Afternoon: Opinicon Shelter - (Jeff Montgomery, Heather Haynes, Whitney & Sully)
Evening: Frontenac Park (Brennan & Heather w/Jack & Rosemary Spafford)
Sun, June 26/55km
Morning: Frontenac Park
As Sara mentioned, we are overwhelmed at how supportive everyone has been. To have this many people meet us along the trail too, has been so wonderful and helpful. Thank you to everyone.
While I’m on the subject, I would also like to take this opportunity to shout from the rooftops (& treetops and mountaintops)……..Sara, thank you! You have given me so much happiness in my life. Meeting you was absolute destiny. I love you for who you are and always will. I have never felt like I fit in with what is considered ‘normal’ until I met you, my MTS. While I wouldn’t suggest that our life is normal, by most people’s standards, I am so grateful that we get to share our own form of normal together…….blissfully & happily…….forever isn’t long enough.
June 21/Derrick & Sara:
We had a beautiful, intimate wedding ceremony in our backyard yesterday. We were then treated to a limo ride to Ottawa (after a short tour of Yarker and Colebrooke with Brennan and Heather). It was nice to enjoy a little comfort before taking to the trail for the next 6 days.
And now......The Quest Begins! It's 8:30am and we are just checking out of the hotel and heading to the Rideau Trail (only a few blocks away). We will be leaving phone messages from the trail for Sara's parents, Peter and Judy, to post updates later.
June 22/Peter & Judy
Unlike Sara and Derrick, it takes both of us to write a few words.
Speaking on behalf of Derrick's parents and ourselves, the wedding could not have been more perfect. It was totally about the love Sara and Derrick share.
Sara called last night and they were very tired as they expected they would be after the first day (lots of pavement, heat and rain). By now they are back on the trail for their second day.
June 22/Peter & Judy - End of Day 2
Derrick and Sara are spending the night (Wednesday) in Rosedale, approximately 10km east of Smiths Falls. The trail was very rugged today going through areas with waist high water and lots of deer flies. They seem to be having a good time.
June 23/Peter & Judy - End of Day 3
It is slightly after 10pm Thursday and just heard from Sara. We think they are at Murphy's Point. They were turning in for the night and will call first thing in the morning. We will post an update then. She sounded much better than yesterday.
June 24/Peter & Judy - Beginning Day 4
IMPORTANT UPDATE - As it happens Derrick and Sara are not at Murphy's Point as we thought last night. They are behind their projected schedule and so are adding at least another day to their run. This means that the "Sunday Finish" is cancelled. Tight schedules make things too difficult. We are meeting them tonight and the next update on this site will be sometime Saturday. Please contact anyone you know who might have been planning to meet them on Sunday. Thanks.
June 25/Sara & Derrick
Sara: Well, we’re back. We ended the run Friday afternoon. The run didn’t go 100% as planned, but we succeeded in having an adventure, that much is certain. In the end we covered pretty much exactly half of the trail, and were out there fastpacking for 4 days. The first 3 days we managed 45 km per day, and the 4th day we traveled another 17 km. The first day my right foot took a severe beating from the heavy packs compounding the large amount of pavement running we had to do in and out of Ottawa on bike paths. Only 3 hours into our run, after a short break, I realized it couldn’t take pressure, and panicked that the run was over before it had even really began. I got through the rest of that first day by staying on grass and dirt, but by the next morning it was bruised and sore to any direct pressure. I needed to head out that day to know for sure how it would handle running, but I also knew I’d need to be extremely lucky to be able to continue. Even if I couldn’t finish the run, I couldn’t face the heartbreak of being done so soon. That day, we did get lucky, and by avoiding the pavement like the evil I know it is, the bruising gradually went away, and the foot remained manageable. My feet were hurting a lot though. The packs were heavy and we were working so much harder than we expected, and not meeting our mileage goals.
Derrick was doing well through the first 3 days, though suffering with the weight of his pack as well. His right hip was flaring up, and we worried about his bad Illiotibial Band on his right side. Ironically, it turned out to be his left IT band that flared up the morning of day 4 and just wouldn’t loosen up. He covered those 17 km in such severe physical pain, and we were only able to run an hour of it. The rest we hiked, while coming to the conclusion that with his sudden acute injury and my nagging overuse injury, we had lost the ability to run. Our run had ended, for now anyway. On one hand it is so tough to stop short of our goal, but we’re grateful we were able to hold in there as long as we did, and didn’t give in until there really was no choice, but rather an inescapable fact. We had decided going into day 4 to lighten our packs by leaving our camping gear for our parents to pick up, but unfortunately it turned out to be too late, the damage was already done.
It is interesting, and gives us an optimistic sign, that the place we ended turned out to be 152 km, or pretty much exactly half of what we wanted to cover. This can’t be a coincidence, it is just too unlikely to have occurred without it being a message to us. We will finish up the trail, in a slightly different way than we had set out to. The northern half of the Rideau Trail is quite different than the southern half that we’re used to, in that it is a lot of road and the trail sections were disappointingly underused, not very well marked, and frankly, quite uninspiring. The irony is that by the time we hit the nice half of the trail, we were too busted up to continue into the part of the trail that we love.
We feel a turmoil of thoughts at this point, but are focusing on the positives. We learned a ton about the limits of running with packs, and it whet our appetites for more adventures like this where we can apply our new knowledge. Living and running on the trail was transforming us – hardening our bodies while doing something mysterious to our spirits, that in this trip we were just catching a glimpse of. We look forward to experiencing those feelings again, and delving further into it.
We were there for each other in a way that is deeply important for us in our new marriage, carrying each other through our rough spots. Derrick is my rock, and I am his, and we know that more than ever. We feel surrounded by support from our family and friends in this endeavor, and won’t insult anyone's kindness by thinking we let anyone down but ourselves. While we didn’t make the end of the trail in the way we hoped, we did accomplish a lot of our goals along the way.
Derrick: Some highlights/low points from our adventure:
Woodpecker Alarm: While taking a nap before heading into Marlborough Forest, we were awoken by a woodpecker pecking on the tin Rideau Trail sign above our heads. We knew that we should be on our way at that point and so did the woodpecker.
Wolf Alarm: Our alarm clock on morning #3, was a pack of wolves. Sounded so beautiful and made us think of our own pack at home who sometime break out into song in the early morning hours.
Dam Crossing: Just outside of Perth we were faced with a dam we needed to cross. The water was moving very quickly and looked a little dangerous at first. We were relieved once we got closer to see that there was a cable handrail to help to navigate and it wasn’t in fact very deep. The water ended up being very refreshing and helped to cool Sara’s achy feet for a little while.
Water crossings: We had heard stories from Bob Tysen about different parts along the trail that were flooded, but never expected to see so many. There were numerous sections that we were over our knees in marsh for extended periods of time. The worst was a section of about 5 minutes where we were up to our waist in water trying to find trail markers in a marsh. To complicate matters, the deer flies were feasting on us as well.
Taits Bakery: On day 3 we had to run for about 2 hours before re-fueling with a big breakfast. We had energy bars along the trail, but were pretty hungry by the time we got to Smiths Falls. We went into a small diner and were overwhelmed by the fog of cigarette smoke. Just couldn’t handle it, so we left. We then hit a small bike shop to re-stock energy bars and gels and got a great tip about ‘smoke free’ Taits Bakery. Well, we think we made their day. We ate pretty much everything in sight, and after a few stares of amazement, paid our $30 food bill and left. We felt proud that it was probably the largest amount ever consumed in one sitting.
Smiths Falls Nap: After leaving the bakery, we took a much needed nap on the grass beside a museum. We had many funny looks and even a few Japanese tourists snapping photos of these two poor, ragged looking souls.
Perth Dump: Yes, the Rideau Trail travels through the Perth Dump. We were totally disgusted at having to wade through knee deep muck of who-knows-what (toxic waste perhaps?) and then dodging garbage along the trail. Certainly not the most beautiful part of the trail.
Friendly Folks: On day 4, between a couple of meltdowns, I was not able to run because of the pain in my knee. We walked a long section of road. At one point, we stopped and Sara tried to massage my I.T. Band to loosen it up. There were a number of people who asked if we were okay or if they could help, which was really nice. One gentleman even offered us water or beer when we went past his house. Then there was the kind vet from Smiths Falls who gave us a ride into Murphy’s Point on the back of his truck when we realized that we could not continue.
Trail Conditions: We were really surprised at the amount of the trail on the first day that was paved. This was not what we expected or had trained on. We do all of our training on rugged, hilly dirt trails though sections of the southern portion of the Rideau Trail and were not prepared for the pounding of pavement. Then, add to that the hay fields, swamps and bramble bushes we went through. The southern portion of the trail is just so much more beautiful, well maintained and more used than what we ran on for the 4 days. The trail markers were sometimes a real challenge to find through certain sections too, and we weren’t thrilled at these scavenger hunts being added to an already challenging run. We got lost a number of times, and we’ll be looking for trail markers in our sleep for weeks to come.
Road Side Dining: On day 2 we stopped along a quiet country road to spend the night. We set up our tent among a nice section of cedar trees. The bugs were bad so we went out on to the gravel road to cook dinner on our camp stove. We hadn’t seen any cars in a while, so we were literally cooking in the middle of road. Every once in a while a car would come along, so we’d stand up, move our stuff to the side of the road and try to look normal. I don’t think we pulled it off very well.
Duct Tape: Ah, the many uses of duct tape. This was the one item we could not have lived without. We duct taped everything imaginable, especially when we started to feel a hot spot or blister forming somewhere. In fact, upon my nephew Matthew seeing my duct taped feet, referred to me as Cyborg Man.
Bad Patches: I found this part very interesting. I knew we were going to be going through some rough patches on our run. You just never know when it will sneak up and grab ahold of you. We were fortunate that Sara and I never seemed to be having them at the same time. Whenever I was feeling really bad, Sara seemed to be feeling strong was there to help guide me through it and whenever Sara felt rough, I was there for her. This is something that we will always remember and be able to draw upon in the future for our marriage.
Thank you for helping us on our run…
Paul and Jen for their incredible hospitality and help the first day.
Joanne for her patience, support, lunch on the trail on Day 2 and knowing what makes us tick.
Neil and Andrea for yet more patience, support and a great dinner on Day 3.
Peter and Judy for picking us up on Day 4, and pouring us into a nice B&B to end our honeymoon on a good note.
Jack and Rosemary for looking after our slew of animals all week, and bringing us home.
Debbie for her surprise of being here, and her complete understanding of the highs and lows of big adventures.
Karen for her big heart, way with words, and unwavering support.
Anna for her wonderful poem.
Jeff & Heather, Brennan, Heather and Bob for your participation, which means so much to us even though we didn’t make it that far.
Everyone who was going to be there at the end to meet us, we’re sorry we didn’t get to see you.
Derek for his great photos.
Deb & Dan for the personalized technical shirts.
The vet from Smiths Falls Vet Services who gave us a ride into Murphy’s Point.
Everyone who sent us emails and phone messages. They meant the world to us.
Our sponsors: Petzl, Adidas, Ingenius, La Sportiva, Superfeet, Trailhead, Shopper’s Drug Mart
Finally, everyone who so generously donated to the KHS and RTA on our behalf.
And thank you to everyone who did such nice things for our wedding. We will thank all of you personally and properly, but want to say here how touched we were by all you have done for us.
June 28 - We've added a Rideau Quest Photo Gallery page.
Ways to make a donation in support of the run:
1) Send cheque payable to Kingston Humane Society or Rideau Trail Association to: Derrick & Sara, 311 Freeman Road, Yarker, ON K0K 3N0. We will then present the cheques to the organizations when we return.
2) Click on links below to send your donation directly. In this case, you may either make your donation anonymously, or you may indicate on the cheques memo field that the donation is for the Rideau Quest fundraiser.
~ Please note that all donations are tax deductable and receipts will be mailed.