Saturday, February 7, 2009

Sidehiller Snowshoe Race

I thought this was the hardest one yet. There were no major climbs, but the snow conditions made for some very difficult footing and required a lot of leg strength. In the first half mile or so I was thinking that I was a little "off" today. I just couldn't seem to get into a good rhythm and didn't seem to be moving along very fast for the amount of work I was putting in. But I quickly realized it wasn't me, it was the soft snow.

There were short stretches of packed snow at the beginning and end of the race. Even this had a lot of give and was all dug up by the runners in front of me, making for uneven and unpredictable footing. The bulk of the race, the middle portion, was on very soft and challenging snow. I'd like to tell you more about the course, but I only saw the snow directly in front of my feet for the entire race. I didn't dare lift my eyes from the trail. Even so, I fell four times. One of my falls landed me off the trail. I sank in so deep that it took quite a bit of floundering around to get back on my feet.

Near the middle of the race, for a minute or two, I forgot I was supposed to be having fun. I caught myself swearing on one of my stumbles. Then I told myself out loud, "relax and enjoy it". That was all it took to turn things around for me. I think other runners around me heard that and hopefully it helped them in their races today, too. Or maybe they just thought I was weird. Anyway, from that point on I wasn't exactly smiling, but I was enjoying the hard effort. Through this rough middle section I traded places several times with a woman who fell as frequently as me. It's not that I was happy to see her fall, but it was nice to know that I wasn't the only one having a hard time.

When we came to the road crossing for the second time I knew this meant we had the worse part over with and were nearing the finish. I have had a slight cold for the past week and in this last part I found myself wheezing loud enough for the people around me to hear and comment on. I was also coughing a little as I ran. It didn't seem to slow me down any, just made me sound like a smoker.

I didn't have a lot left at the finish. When I stopped running I walked off a short distance and coughed up a lot of unmentionable stuff. A little boy nearby asked his mother, "Is she throwing up?" Thanks to me, there's one little boy who will not grow up to be a snowshoe runner.

Snowshoe racing is a little like giving birth. While you're doing it you are saying, "holy crap, never again." Ten minutes after you're done you are thinking, "well, wasn't that nice." By tomorrow morning I will only remember that I had fun, so I should be rearing to go at Frosty's Dash.

No comments:

Post a Comment