Monday, February 9, 2015

Moose Mountain RunAround Snowshoe Race

I headed down to a more "local" race in Brookfield, NH on Sunday, with John in tow. I planned a little better this time and had a much happier kid. Having a nice indoor facility for him to hang out in definitely helped, too! I was a little nervous about the course after talking to Dan Coons, the race director. He had packed down the trail the day before and said some of the single track was thigh-deep. So I was prepared for a tough run through thick snow.
John and I got there in plenty of time and found hardly anyone had arrived for the race. I was told that the race start was pushed back 30 minutes to allow more time for people to arrive who might be traveling in snowy conditions. At that point, I just took my time getting ready, and then Jim Johnson and I headed out for a warm-up on the course in snowshoes for most of the last 2.2 miles of the course. The snowmobile trail had already been packed down by snowmobiles, but not groomed, so it was soft, but still had pretty decent footing. The single track was surprisingly not that bad. Dan had done a great job in making a WIDE path, so it was way better than Horse Hill the day before where I kept stumbling into the snow on either side of the trail. And most of the single track was downhill at the end.
When we got back, a few more racers had arrived but not really the numbers I was expecting. I think we only ended up with 33 racers total. We had just enough time to get all set before the start. I said bye to John, who was content with my phone inside the warm building. I was sweating buckets after our warm-up, but when I walked outside again for the start, I was freezing. A few instructions from Dan then the race was off. After a short run through the parking lot, we hit the powder. And by that, I mean powder flying up everywhere from the other racers. I could barely see, and I was covered. I was only wearing liner gloves, so my fingers started to freeze immediately. After about 2-3 minutes, I had to tuck my fingers inside my hands just to get the feeling back. And my face was numb. The fingers eventually warmed up after the first mile, but the face stayed frozen the whole way. This first portion of the course was almost all single track for about .8 miles or so. Tough, but really fun to run in once everyone started to spread out a bit.. I was really happy that I was able to stay focused and run well this time. And, thank you to Eric Narcisi for the song he had posted on my FB post the day before because that was the one that came right into my head immediately. "Song 2" by Blur. Perfect. I stayed tuned in to Jeff Litchfield and Jonathan Miller just ahead of me to try to stay with them, and also to the guy right on my heels that I didn't want passing me. I would eventually pull far enough ahead of him and closer to Jeff and Jonathan. As soon as we hit the single track again, Jeff slowed WAY down, so it was a bit of bottleneck for Jonathan and me. I wanted to pass SO BADLY, but for Jeff to step off the trail would have had him in really deep snow. This is where I tend to open it up, so it was excruciating slowing down so much, but I just decided to stick it out. I knew Jeff would be faster than me on the snowmobile trail and into the finish anyway, but I hated not being able to run faster on this stretch. Once we hit the snowmobile trail, the finish wasn't far away. Jonathan and Jeff went on ahead, but I kept running hard into the finish to finish in 32:34, 1st woman, 7th overall. I wasn't going to finish in the lame ass way I finished the day before at Horse Hill. I was happy with my race. I ran it much faster in 29:51 last year, but the conditions really weren't comparable, and I lost a decent chunk of time in that single track bottleneck.
Moose Mountain. Photo by Chris Dunn.

After the race, I found John and was sure to touch his warm cheeks with my freezing hands. Ha ha. He was still content, so I got ready to cooldown. I changed gloves and threw on a pullover and neck gaiter which took me all of maybe 30 seconds, then waited about 10 minutes for Eric and Jim to put on about 5 layers of clothing and change shoes. I think they were cold. Ha ha. The three of us headed out on the road for 2 miles out and back. The road was pretty slippery so it was just a slow jog. The conversation started with dog kicking and eventually turned to men's communal showers. Never a dull moment. Ha ha.
Not long after we got back, awards were announced. We got jelly jars filled with trail mix. John immediately picked out almost all of the M&Ms. Coffee, chili and bagels really hit the spot. Jim and I were caught by Eric for an interview, which I'm sure he'll put up in the next day or two. I was a bit camera shy after acting like a goofball on camera the day before, so I'm sure I'll cringe when I see both of them.
Race winners
We made it home after about 6 attempts at getting up our unplowed hill. I had to resort to my tire cables for that one which took me forever to put on. I was the lucky one of the four cars stranded at the bottom and decided not to drive anywhere else. John and I finished the day off with some sledding with our dogs at the Waldorf School, which is a walk through the woods behind our house. So much fun.
As far as the week goes, I ended up with mileage back up into the 50s , PLUS some elevation (over 5000 ft), so things are starting to look up again. Not sure of my training plans this week since it has been snowing non-stop for like a week, it seems. Putting a bit of a damper on some of my plans, but I don't really make set plans until day of anyway.

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