March 30, 2011

Snowshoe Challenge Peak Races

March came and went with a swift breeze.  I began the month with a snowshoe half marathon in the Peak Races, Pittsfield, Vermont. With all my health crud that's but lurking and sitting on the sidelines, I decided to do something adventurous outside with some friends, laughing through the woods.  
Me and my favorite colored trail blaze! (Photo by kZ.)
I wanted to make my 40th birthday memorable. And it was!  I shared the day with some of my dear running pals, including Dan and Kevin, who stuck with me for our two-loop course. Dan and I were evenly trained, which meant our log books were about as equally blank. My last run was two weeks prior to this half and before that a 4.5 mile SS at Horse hill three weeks earlier. I was going in fresh.

 kZ, Trail Pixie, Steve and Dan with our Pre-Race Faces.

kZ was out there for his first (I think) snowshoe event. Steve LaTour was back for another SS marathon AND a major PR. He’s one tough High Quality, non generic, No Trans fat Cookie.

Before the start, we goofed around as the RD spoke, then we watched Steve's circa 1980’s style gray track-suit disappear into the woods never to be seen again.  Until after his finish. What I didn’t know— as I walked quickly towards his vehicle to offer kudos—was that he was nearly Scottish Highland Cattle (buck) naked behind his car door. Good times. Also at Peak was Michelle who reincarnated herself several times in the Death Race. We got to see her a few times on the course before she took second place, overall.  Those lumberjack men hadn't met the tough as tyvek likes as 'lil Roy.

Simon Says...."Descend the Mountain"
(photo by Dan S)

The course loop was 3.5 miles up and 3 down—give or take. TWICE. SO the “down” part is deceiving because on the descents exist generous ascents. Welcome to Vermont.  The 1870 ft elevation was a calf-awakening reminder of the mountain circuit (but with snow and giant tennis racquets attached to my feet). Let me say a bit about the snowshoes out there…some folks wore giant SS’s. I’m not sure how they maneuvered the single-track slushy trail. Wow. I was pleased with my Dion 122’s; they’re light with a low profile.

Pausing at the Peak.

In the first mile I was thinking “what the heck did I get myself into…” but then I found my groove, pushed away such trivial negativity and hunkered in for the long haul. It was a beautiful (overcast, sometimes rainy and silly-fun) day. 
Not an aid station.
Keep in mind list: 
Wear calf-covering socks beneath my tights due to the snow kick up! I only need one gaiter layer for the snow (and added warmth). I spent more time in the aid station than I usually do. I was trying to get my fingers to work (cold!) and tighten my sneaker laces, that and changing my shirt and eating some...

bad cookies. 
 I had no real regrets with the day. I was only temporarily possessed with the kind of fictional regret that appears when cold with low blood sugar, one-friend down, and no Scooby snacks in the joey. 
Why didn’t I see any mythological beings in the Labyrinth?  

So, if I had not dallied the extra 1 minute and 40 seconds (blah blah blah) in between loops, I would have made 1st in my age group! HAH! This means I made 2nd in my new age group, which is a coups! We finished in under 4:15 hours. Not too shabby.
Farewell 30's.

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