Running a 100 Miler in Canada

Running a 100 Miler at 64 in Canada (long version)

It was interesting to see the looks of pity that I received as I limped thru the door of the Toronto airport. "Poor crippled old man" was written all over their faces. Little did they know that this "poor crippled old man" had just completed a 100 mile run less than 20 hours before. They couldn’t see the pride that consumed me for the grimaced look on my face, from carrying 2 big bags and pulling a big suitcase. But, believe me, the pride was there in full force. It had been my best 100 miler to date, with a PR of 28:00:11. It all started with the joy of running the first 12.5 mile loop with runners totally out-of-my-league, including my wonderful friend, "the ultimate super chick", Monica Scholz.  It was so much fun, as I felt great and was running easy through the cool, early morning, crossing bridges over streams that seemed larger than two years ago when I did the race. Recent heavy rains were probably the cause. The conditions were perfect ! I commented to one of the guys that I was running with that "I shouldn’t be up here with you guys and I’m going to pay for it later". But I didn’t care…it was just too much fun ! As the day heated-up, many of the local Canadian runners were complaining about the heat, which I felt was not a problem. It was nothing like what we experience in Hawaii. Running shirtless, I never felt overheated. The heat must have been real for many, as I’d never seen so many runners vomiting in a 100 miler. Following Monica’s advice, to stay on the cool side,I continued run shirtless through most of the night, amid many comments of "aren’t you cold?" One thing for sure, you really keep moving when you’re freezing ! Brrrrr ! I had planned to put on my long-sleeve Patagonia HURT shirt at one point in the early morning, but due to my brain-dead condition, accidentally ran off without it. It was a very chilly loop. The Sulphur Springs Trail Races are big deal for the folks in and around the beautiful, small town of Ancaster.  There are lots of other races of different distances going on, with many volunteers, including friends and families. It’s a trip to come back after finishing a loop to people cheering you on and with loud music (sometimes a band) playing. This particular 100 mile race was very different for me, as it was my first experience without my loyal pacer, Vernon Char. During the night I spent almost all the time alone, which I was surprised to find that I really enjoyed.  The sights, sounds and smells of the night are really something special to experience. The area has quite a number of deer and I also spotted a cute fox (sorry…animal type) and a squirrel. True to my prediction, there was a time that I paid dearly for going out way too fast on the first loop. Strangely enough, it came early, on the 3rd loop. The only stupid mistake I made, other than going out too fast, (and not putting a shirt on) was not cleaning rocks out of my shoes. My feet paid dearly. The course is very different from what we are used to in Hawaii, (especially the HURT 100 course). The roots and rocks that we are used to are replaced primarily with smooth dirt  that you can actually stand upright and run on. Imagine that ! It was special race for me, as generally all 100 milers are. As I was leaving Monica’s, we hugged, and she whispered in my ear "I’m proud of you". Her words will remain special to me forever !             Don Fallis