Monday, February 2, 2009
Long Snowshoe Run
I went out on snowshoes on the Parsonsfield snowmobile trails for 20 miles today. The snow was firm when I started, but softened up fast as the temperatures rose. I was happy to see that someone had constructed a makeshift bridge over one of the brooks I fell into last time I ran on these trails. When I got to the first road crossing at 5 miles I checked my watch and saw I was right on ten minute pace.
I crossed the base of Merrill Hill on single track trail and entered the Leavitt Plantation. It was nice to see tracks of back country skiers, snowshoers, and even what looked like a studded mountain bike tire. I have been running in these woods for 20 years and only recently have I started to see signs that other people from the community are out there getting some exercise and enjoying the outdoors. I have yet to actually see anyone out doing anything that doesn't involve a motorized vehicle, but the signs tell me that they are out there!
I crossed Hasty Road and explored the trails on the other side for a while. When I came to "Mary Brown Road" I knew I had ventured into unknown territory. I thought I knew every road in the area. I guess not. I retraced my steps for a while and then tried to take the trail over Merrill Hill.
A snowmobiler had started up the trail and I followed his track for a few miles. But when the trail got steep, the snowmobiler had turned around, leaving me with 18 inches of untouched snow to wade through in my little racing snowshoes. I figured I would only have to do this for a half mile at the most before I met up with the next snowmobile trail. Leave it to me, I went off trail and ended up totally confused about where I was. I could have retraced my tracks, but I decided to just head down hill. I knew I would end up on Chase Rd, Middle Rd, Merrill Hill Rd, or North Rd. This section of woods was completely boxed in, with those four roads surrounding the hill I was on. I had a feeling I would end up on trails I had been on earlier in the day and eventually I did, but not until I had bushwacked in deep snow for about an hour. I think I only did about two miles in that hour. I didn't count that time or those two miles in my run total for today.
Once I got back onto snowmobile trails I got back to the buisiness of running. It was much slower and more difficult running than it had been earlier in the day. The snow was mushy and sticking to the cleats of my snowshoes. My stomach was growling and my legs were aching by the time I was done. The run (not counting the bushwack) took 3:45.
I have decided to do both Granite State Snowshoe Series races this coming weekend. Running back to back races has never worked out for me. I have tried it twice. Both times I held back in Saturday's race and only had a mediocre performance, then bombed in Sunday's race anyway. So I know it is a bad idea. But I have to miss one of the Granite State races for work already so I think I should do all the others, including the back to back races this weekend. I will push hard on Saturday as if it is the only race I am doing and then just try to survive on Sunday. That's my plan!