Saturday, February 7, 2015

Horse Hill Snowshoe Race

Today was a bit of a drive to the Horse Hill Snowshoe Race, but I didn't mind, since I really want to do most of the series this year. The last 3 years just never worked out for me due to either lack of snow, being deathly ill and then just not being in a good place in life. Since I'm finally making it happen this year, you'd think I would have run better than I did today. I left a little late, but it would have left me plenty of time had I been by myself. I keep forgetting to allow extra time when John was with me so I don't rush him around. As soon as we got there, things didn't go right. He slept the whole way down and then woke up to me telling him to put on all of his winter gear since he couldn't stay in the car. The lot at the start/finish was full, so we had to park up the street on another road. Upon hearing this, he immediately burst into tears and refused to put on his clothes. He was really upset that he would have to stand out in the cold the whole time. I felt bad, so I tried to ease his mind by telling him that there would probably be someone's car at the start that he could sit in. It was still a bit of a fight and took forever to get out of the car and over to the start, but as soon as I saw Robin Allen-Burke, I asked her if John could sit in her car. She, of course, said yes, since she's so nice. That was a big relief, and John was finally happy. He refused to actually get out of the car until the race was long over, but that's what he wanted, so it was ok. Ha ha.
By the time I got my warm-up in, it was rushed. I only ran .8. I could tell this race was going to be slow-going, and I wasn't feeling it. Since it was ALL single track, I lined up where I thought I would be, and it was pretty right on. I only had to pass three people, and one person passed me. That was a relief. The race ended up on some really soft snow after the first mile and stayed that way on this crazy zig-zag of a course. At one point, I came up a hill and Eric Narcisi was right in front of me on another trail going the opposite direction. I yelled out, "I'm so confused!" Then to my right, I saw the two guys who were actually in front of me and realized this was going to be one of those courses like the Bradbury Bruiser where you're constantly seeing everyone in front of you and behind you. It felt like we were on it forever, and I became completely unfocused. A couple of times, I caught myself daydreaming and realized that I had slowed down a lot, as if I forgot I was racing. I even told myself at one point to stay focused, but I just couldn't. I didn't really have anyone to race, and this extremely slow song kept going through my head. I knew I was going to be first woman without making much effort, so I guess I gave up. On the last stretch before the finish, I just jogged in and finished not even out of breath. Pretty weak. 41:16 for 3.5 miles. I know I could have run that faster, but I was not in it mentally. After the race, I did a short cool down on the road. It felt really good to be on pavement, and I wanted to go longer, but I didn't want to leave John for very long, so I headed back.
Shortly before the finish. Photo by Chris Dunn

On the way home, we stopped at Cowabunga's in South Hooksett so John could have some fun, too. He loved it, and we spent over 2 hours there. He really needed something fun after the way our morning went, and it was a good choice.
As soon as we got home I took the dogs on a snowshoe run up Heavenly Hill (1.3 miles). I hadn't packed down the trail since two storms ago, so it was thick. It was pretty much a walk/jog the whole way up. Running down was fast and fun. I love that part. I ended up with 7.2 miles for the day, so not too bad.
I'm hoping today was just a fluke and that Moose Mountain will be better tomorrow. Conditions will be  same, if not tougher. The race director told me some of the single track was thigh-deep this morning when they were packing it down. Yikes. I expect to go slow, but I also expect to actually try harder tomorrow.

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