Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Time to Think...Some important decisions

Well the last few days have been very low key, ie no running. Over the weekend I injured my back while trying to act like an 18 year old not a 48 year old!! It's a male thing I think.

You may want to know what happened? If not I don't care I am going to tell you anyway Well it wasn't sexy or exciting. I was simply working at my dad's bush camp and tried to lift too many things without having the brains to know that some of the items may have been a bit heavy for me too lift. For example a woodstove moved off the back of a truck onto a trailer then off the trailer into a cabin, lifting the 4 wheeler (quad) out of some think snow pack where it had gotten stuck (a few times...I wasn't driving), lifting logs up and putting them into the back of the truck instead of cutting them up into manageable lengths.

The Cabin in Winter

Since coming home on Sunday I have felt more like the Hunchback of Notre Dame than an ultra runner. I guess we have to learn some things over and over before we are smart enough not to do something bad to ourselves.

With a few days off from work I have had some time to think about the whole Running Cuba plan. No I am not setting it aside...I have now chosen my start and finish locations, as well as deciding not to link all of the Cuban National Parks on the run but to link a number of major urban centres, those being Havana, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba,  and Holguin and some National Parks. This will provide me with larger communities that Joanne will more easily be able to access through more readily available transportation means. 

The proposed route will start at Cabo de San Antonio and end approximately 1800km later in Punta de Maisi near La Maquina. With a 30 day completion plan this will mean an average of 60km's per day.

 From Google Maps

The other important decision is time of year for the planned run. After looking at historic meteorological data I have come to the conclusion that no single month will work for the whole run simply because where it may be cool in Havana at a particular time of year the same will not hold true for the area around Santiago. So in trying to pick the best month and keeping in mind Hurricane season I have decided that November will be the best month to complete the run in. I am still considering running a bit before sunrise (6 am'ish) to around 1:00pm then taking a couple of hours to sit out the heat of the day then running again from 3:00pm to 7:00pm. This would give me on average 10 hours of rest each evening along with the 2 hour break during the day. Will need to test out this time plan at some point but for now I think this might work. Yayyy Road Trip to Cuba!!!!

As well I think I will do this run with a desire to create awareness with a couple of charities both in the lead up to and time during the run. The first will be to raise funds related to the run in support of a home in the Havana neighborhood of Mirimar, a community across the harbor from old Havana, that cares for individuals with physical and developmental disabilities ( The second will be to raise awareness for the great work i2p ( does and again raise funds to support the work at i2p. I have not contacted organizers with either charity yet but will begin looking into this area this fall at the latest. I would be interested in hearing opinions if anyone has any other ideas. In addition equipment sponsors will be sought to help offset some of the costs associated with equipment purchases for both the training and the actual run. This is not as easy as it seems since I will be running in Cuba and many if not all companies located in the United States will be reluctant to support the run do to the US embargo and US 'Trading with the Enemy Act 1917". So if I plan on running with Skechers Gorun Ride shoes or a Nathan hydration pack (see my reviews on these products) I may have to evaluate whether I can do so without support should they not wish to be involved in the run across Cuba. Time will tell.    

Some future research will include proposed rest stops and evening break locations as well as whether or not I will do overnights in the rough (a la camping tent and sleeping bag) or do my best to stay at Casa Particulars which can be found in almost any town no matter how small throughout Cuba (and they are often very reasonably priced - compare a Canadian campgound site fee with a Casa Particular stay). I also want to start creating a training plan that will help me build up my endurance for the repetitive nature this run will present. Day in and day out ultra's will not be easy physically or mentally so I need to put my mind to how I can train my body and mind to keep going after the 15th or 16th day when the wheels fall off.

A few other blog entries that I hope to post either here or on my other blog will deal with upcoming races including the Ottawa Marathon in a couple of weeks, the 6 hour Transcendence Race in Kingston two weeks after the marathon, a new trail ultra in August that will support Ray Zahab's i2p program, the 12 hour Transcendence Race at the end of September and finally the 50km Mad Trapper trail race in October.

Until next time keep running.