Well you’re looking at the defending snowshoe state champions 2017!
Yes that’s right, we ran the Spring Mountain SnowShoe race again this year. How fitting that I’m finally getting the race recap up on the blog and it’s a snow day here for us! We’re getting hit with the first significant storm of the season and we’re already in February. Yesterday it was 65 degrees and today…a blanket of snow! Sorry for the blurry crooked picture of my backyard.
Back to the race- so the race was held on Saturday, January 28th, at a small ski mountain in Pennsylvania. It was cold and since there was only man made snow the race was held entirely on the slope this year! Last year there was snow from mother nature, a lot of it, so the race meandered through the woods and you only climbed up and ran down the ski slope one time. This year was a little different, the course was definitely a challenge to say the least, but we both finished first in our age groups.
This year’s course had you climbing the slope in a diagonal pattern until you reached a straight passage that had a gradual incline. You ran up and down two bunny hills, and then made your way back down the mountain on the other side- again in a diagonal pattern. When you reached the bottom area you were then directed through another straight passage with a gradual incline and then you rounded the corner and headed down to the very bottom of the slope. As you came down you made your way back to where you started…and then you did it all over! Here’s a picture from last year’s race that someone sent me. It is a picture of a picture they saw in a local paper. Trish and I are the two toward the back. I am the last person in the pack.
That whole second time around was a major mental road block for me. I don’t know about you, but passing the same point twice in any race messes with my mind. Especially when the first time around is so brutal. Snow shoeing is tough. The man at the awards ceremony commented on the amount of not only physical toughness but mental toughness that is needed for this sport. It is truly a testament of your will power no doubt.
My race started off well. I felt good as we climbed the slope. That was about the only time I felt good. I think I fell about four times as I made my way up the hill. Every time I rounded a cone I would step on my own shoe and fall flat on my face. Once I made it to the straight pass I slowed down to a walk but it was a trudging through the snow kind of walk. I decided to try and pick it up back to a run and fell flat on my face…again. This time there were no corners to blame it on, I pretty much just fell for no reason. Once I got to the bunny hills I picked it back up to a full run. When you run in snow shoes you have to really pick your knees up and keep your steps even. It’s hard. As I rounded the corner after the bunny hill I headed down the slope. I felt like I was running out of control down the slope and I was doing everything I could to not just roll down it. I could hear my wrist or ankle cracking the entire way down and I felt like my bones were all knocking together. I actually had to laugh at the man ahead of me because his arms were swinging all over the place and then I realized my arms were doing the same! Once I was down and made it to the next straight pass I decided to treat it as an interval. There were blue ribbons tied to the trees sporadically through this area. So I used the ribbons as start and stopping points for my walk/run intervals. That worked well and kept my mind focused on that rather than on hating life.
So I made it out to the clearing and headed down to the turn around point. I used the same strategy in round two. The second round was really just me telling myself it would be over soon. I really just had to mentally coach myself through it and try to keep the thoughts of “why do I pay to do this to myself” at bay. That’s all I can say. I knew it was temporary and that when I got down this time I would be done. I was so happy when I crossed that finish line! All in all this is a very challenging race but also a lot of fun. There is a cute old couple who run everything and during the awards ceremony the old man thanked his wife for all she does and their grandchild brought out a bouquet of flowers for her. It was so sweet. They had an interesting antler crown with a little ivy wrapped around it for the overall female and male top finisher. Then the other winners received hand made trophies that you can see we are holding in the picture below.
I’m telling you this is a wicked workout and we were sore for the rest of the week. My quads burned for two straight days…but it was that good burn where you know you really worked your muscles. I’ve been eyeing up snow shoes…I might be adding them to my Christmas list next year! The race made running a challenge last week. Between calf issues and just general soreness the running miles were light and the ones I did log were a struggle. I took some rest days and refueled.
And then finally on Monday my run felt great…the 55 degree temperatures, home early from work, and a setting sun all contributed!Pin It