This year I lucked out and was able to get in on the wait-list after the race was postponed due to weather. I hoped to possibly podium on my own this time. When I got to the race, I quickly disabused myself on any such thoughts as I saw 4 or 5 guys including Jim Johnson, Chris Mahoney, Jackman and Eric Narcisi who could handily beat me. Oh well, I guess I could just hope that they all would get lost:) Apparently my wishes somehow got lost in translation(more on that later).
After saying hi to many fellow runners who I hadn't seen in at least a year(the opposite of last week's Amherst race where I knew next to no one), I warmed up with Lisa Ransom before the start of the race.
|The widest part of the trail-before the sun set|
|Pre-race: TNT and CMS in the front with Danny in lime-green|
Chris sent us off with a quick "go!" and, like always, Jim Johnson sprinted to the front with Chris Mahoney, Robert Jackman and Eric Narcisi right on his heels. I settled in behind Eric with another runner right behind me.
The thing I find challenging about snowshoe racing is that the pace never seems extraordinarily difficult but if you try to pick it up at all, you become anoxic almost immediately. It's about finding a balance that will keep you going fast enough without blowing up. I settled into a comfortably hard-ish pace but soon was slowly being gapped by the four ahead of me.
|Luckily I was wearing a reflective vest or you wouldn't be able to see me|
|A fast start|
Moment of honesty here: Probably within the first two miles I was starting to feeling pretty lousy. There was probably a 100 foot gap that had now separated from me and the three ahead of me(the fourth: JJ had created his own little gap on those three). My right binding on my snowshoes was starting to come loose. And here's the confessional: I got excited about it! Here was my chance at a good excuse to have a bad race. So I told myself, just keep running until your binding comes totally off. But the darn thing never did!
In that time though, I did catch back up with Bob Jackman who suffered a pretty hard fall on one of the climbs. He graciously let me and my shadow(no sure who it was) pass. We slowly started closing the gap on the two now ahead of us, but I could see by the lights of civilization we wouldn't be able to close the gap in time. Just then we pass Chris Dunn who was marshalling the course and he told us we must have missed a turn.
Sure enough we had come into the finish line from the wrong side. For a moment I was panicked-thinking that I had led people astray without my headlamp on but Chris and Eric had also taken the wrong turn and were now finished up right ahead of us. I probably would have been content with just finishing there too but my shadow turned around and started running back towards the way we just come. Grudgingly, I took off in hot pursuit. We ended up back-tracking quite a while before realizing where we had taken the wrong turn(at the two-way traffic point), and then started picking off runners who were now ahead of us. I ended up getting jammed up a bit as the course became more single track and my shadow slowly faded out of sight. Oh well, I finally crossed the finish line about 15 minutes later in my first non-podium finish at Kingman Farm. I jinxed myself!
But the fun didn't end there! Chris had solicited my help as a judge for his first annual chili cookoff, so I was soon was shoveling back copious amounts of various types of chili. It's tougher than it sounds! I had to pick the top three which meant I had to taste all of them, narrow it down to five, narrow it down again to three and then rank those three first through third. All I can say is that I was glad to be driving home alone after all those beans.
A fun raffle after ended the night and it definitely made me want to get back into the snowshoe/trail running scene again. Thinking about it yourself? Check out acidotic RACING's website or join Runner's Alley at Red River tomorrow night for a Trail Running Film Festival.
Up Next: Women on Wellness March 14(Amber); New Bedford Half Marathon March 15(Danny) and Ironman South Africa March 29(Amber)