January 23, 2010

Feel Good Farm Snowshoe Race (Touchy Feely)

With the nearby  Granite State Snowshoe Series underway, I'm emerging from hibernation to run some events with Dungeon Rock Racing.  Last weekend's race at the Feel Good Farm in Lyndeborough, NH, proved to be a positive learning adventure:

  • There is a left and a right for snowshoes. The straps must pull towards the outside of the shoe to prevent tripping on them. It was my first time in my Dions, my second ss race, and maybe 6th time ever on ss's.  Many thanks to Stu for pointing out my ss were on the opposite feet! 

This pup is all ears because the race benefited the Happy Valley Animal Rehab. 
  • Snow makes Snowshoing easier. Another good idea is to avoid running over rocks and sticks. Busted bindings are a bummer. The un-official "tough nugget" awards went to Breakheart Dan and Miriam for running with broken ss's.
  • Newbies to the Back. For a recreational, trample-free, smile-filled, snowshoe race, start at the back of the very back of the back pack. Last. Then, if your feeling in the mood, work your way up through the field. 

Steve  and I lined up behind everyone else. We kept it conversational for our warm up together (eeer...warming up is the first mile of the race, right?). We laughed our way over the river and through the woods. We didn't get to grandma's house but I  was encountered by a "wolf" at one point! 

Steve is an animal (but not a wolf). He was on fire. In fact, I believe he melted the snow.  His competitive side kicked in and he dashed away—leaving me (and Dan) to snow drift.  Still, my conservative start earned a negative second lap as I passed several folks on the downhill and finished happy.  The cauldron of Portuguese Kale Soup at the finish line sure felt like being at Grandma's! 

 My what big snowshoes you have!
 Photo above by  Scott Mason Photography

January 16, 2010


Early this morning I was greeted by a gnathering of 50 gnomies on my front yard.

I gnot up early and heard them begging at my door for toadstools and other gnwoodland delights.  


My residential gnome was a bit caught off gnuard as his sweeping wasn't complete and his stoop was a bit untidy for visitors.

Local, Buzz  Lightyear,  immediately mingled...

(Gnome language merely requires 
the addition of "gn" to the beginning of all words "gnomey.") 

Many gnthanks to these Gnomads for visiting.  
Toadstool for one—Toadstools for all!

January 01, 2010

Happy New Gear!

I've been sidelined for the past three weeks and I am eager to start running—and snowshoeing—soon. Last spring I bought some Dions but barely had one run in them before the melt off gave way to crocuses. 

In February 2009, I ran my first SS race and loved it. I expected it to be more of a heart-poppin', quad-implodin' undertaking but that was not (entirely) the case; it was a fare increase of effort compared to running/post holing through snow. My pace in general may be compared to an excited crawl since I shifted my joy focus towards general fitness with mindfulness in the moment and away from a need for speed

Looking ahead to a speedy and full recovery in ankle health, I signed up for the mid-February Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe 5k.  It fills quickly and there is no day-of registration.  I hope to get out with my Dions well before then to build some strength and endurance. But I must be a smart little snow hare.

Snow Hare and close up of her natural snow shoe foot.

No Break in Breakheart!
After I twisted my ankle in Breakheart Reservation in December,  I was relieved that an X-Ray revealed no fracture or break. With lots of RICE and Active Ankle all-day modeling, I can say I am swiftly recovering. At the time, my PCP recommended I take at least two weeks off before attempting to exercise or run. While he is not a runner nor an image of fitness in general, he is very sympathetic to my endurance urges. In short, he gets it. 

He said that after two weeks, I may safely resume exercising when I have no pain while—or after—exercising. The conundrum is that I usually have some sort of tweak, twinge, tickle that might be considered "pain."  I have a high threshold for running-related discomfort or pain so my task is to listen even more carefully to my body. I just need to play it safe and train conservatively, which isn't a problem. Not training at all WAS beginning to be a problem.

After 14 days of inactivity, my mood met melancholy. Then the endorphin train jumped its tracks; Grouchess Cranky Pants arrived. I was irritable. A sugar glum fairy dark cloud formed overhead. Having been injured before—when I was riding the pine for 9 months —I was prepared. I identified and remdied the unwanted mood sink within 24 hours of its arrival. Whew, dodged it.

Irritability be gone! On day 15 I headed out to the fields and took my running sticks for a spin.  Uneven ground, slanted slopes and ice were probably unwise choices that reminded me of my Breakheart twist. At mile 3.2 I heard a slight whispering ache in my tendon. "No, that can't be.... oh, drat."  I stopped and walked home.  RICE redux

So I bid my inactivity blues goodbye with 2009.  From stair climber, to spinning, to rowing machine, I am mixing it up without stressing my ankle. Another week and I'll be back.

Above is a local melted snow person turned sculpture.

It reminded me of the work of Joseph Beuys (right).