Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Pooh Hill

Photo Courtesy of Steve Wolfe

So Pooh Hill...

What was taken out from last year's race in regard to hills was more than made up for in single track and disheartening exposure to other runners. What I mean by that is you could see the leaders at times ahead of you only to find a tortuous, and torturous, labyrinth of powder between you. For those of you who ran the first two Granite State races but did not participate in this, most likely have no idea of the amount of extra effort it takes on unpacked and uneven terrain. It's worse than running on a loose sand. Now imagine that for the 8 kilometers of the race. Yikes! After the first 3 kilometers or so, I did not pass a single racer and could see Steve Wolfe off in the distance. Steve never got any closer to me nor I to him, just running relatively similar speeds.
Amber wound up pretty close behind me, saying, unbeknownst to me, that she could see me the whole time. She has been cruising this year. Not only did she win her third snowshoe race in a row, she also raced the next day at Gate City's Freeze Your Buns, coming in with a scorching 18:20, 5:55 pace, good enough for second overall. As I'm sure you are as well, I am very excited to see what this year brings for Amber's racing and records.

Friday, January 22, 2010


For those of you who don't really know me, I am very socially awkward. I am more socially awkward than normal today so I thought I would avoid human contact and fixate on snow shoe racing.

Question Numero UNO: How much harder is snowshoe running than road running?

The physiological response to varying terrain and snowshoeing speed are the key variables affecting the snowshoe runner’s caloric output.

Research conducted by Patrick Schneider showed that an individual snowshoe walking at a comfortable pace on mixed terrain elicited a heart rate response between seventy-five and eighty-five per cent of age-predicted heart rate. This is well within the range to increase cardiovascular endurance as well as improve body composition.

From a calorie perspective research showed that men expended approximately five hundred calories during a thirty-minute session, while females burned approximately 375 calories. This would be equivalent to completing the following activities for thirty minutes: running at six miles per hour, swimming at seventy-five yards per minute, cross-country skiing at five to eight miles per hour, or bicycling at fourteen to sixteen miles per hour (Schneider et al., 2001).

Snow shoeing is bad ass. And very hard.

Question Numero DOS: What are the BEST running snow shoes?

In my honest opinion the gold goes to ATLAS

Atlas: Spring-Loaded Suspension (SLS) - Suspension allows natural articulation of the foot for unmatched control and comfort.

Run Binding - Extremely light one-pull, crisscross design is quick and secure. I have never had a problem with the snowshoe either coming untied or loosening.

Frame - Lightweight aluminum frame is sized and tapered specifically for running.

Aluminum Toe & Heel Crampons - Lightweight aluminum toe and heel crampons provide traction without drag while running uphill, downhill, and on flats. Also, extended toe crampon gives extra grip for push off

USSSA snowshoe racing approved

And if you made it through this post awake and want to try snow shoe racing....here is the link to the Granite State snow shoe series: http://hstrial-cdunn9.homestead.com/GraniteSeries.html

Danny is on a mission, one bad ass snow shoe racing series

Eighty eight point six boy has been stepping it up! I guess all the heckling has been getting to him. In my opinion he is mastering the art of snow shoeing even on courses with monster up and down hills and some serious rock exposure.

This weekend we are racing the third snow shoe race in the series: Pooh Hill! Next up is the national qualifier race: Sidehiller Snow Shoe Race

Check out the website for the United States National Snow Shoe Championship: http://www.snowshoeracing.com/national_championship10.htm

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Preparations Are Being Made for Leadville 100

Picture courtesy of:stuckintherockies.com

So I've now registered for Leadville 100, and booked hotel, car and flight. I'm flying into Denver on Thursday(two days before the race) and staying in Frisco(elevation 9,042 feet). I figured that that extra 1,000 feet of elevation at Leadville(10,152 feet) will only aggravate me before the race. I'll be being Thursday and Friday night "down" at Frisco then driving to Leadville morning of the race-running through the night and then will drive back down to lower elevations before I fly out on Monday.
When I worked out in Snowmass(elevation: 9,100 feet ) as an adaptive ski instructor several years back, I had joined a men's league basketball team. I remember my first time running up and down the court- I was out of breath within 30 seconds, and I had a throbbing headache. Some people attribute the majority of altitude's effects to dehydration as your body has to increase its red blood concentration to get enough oxygen, thus "expelling" the fluid portion(plasma) of the blood causing dehydration.
My first stop after the flight into Denver will be to a convenience store where I plan to combat this physiological effect by staying as hydrated as possible. Normally I can do a two-three hour run without any water, but I will be making a point to be drinking 8-12 ounces every hour for all day Thursday and until about 5pm on Friday(don't want to spend the night peeing). Also staying at a lower elevation will hopefully give my body a bit of advantage(or delay in disadvantage).
Okay-logistics are starting to come along. I'll be soon planning out my drop bags(which depends some degree on how much gear I can get from Brooks). Other than that, all that's left is the training...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A good weekend

This weekend was Feel Good Farm, the second race in the Granite State Snowshoe series. Amber and I traveled there separately as I had done the Winter Wild race in Whaleback that morning. Not knowing how long, or lost, I would get going to the farm, I left early from the first race, getting there 2 hours early. Despite the annoyance of squandering precious hours of potential sleep, I decided that I would make the most of this time and sign up to use a pair of Dion snowshoes as well as run the course.
Feel Good Farm is a two lap course that ascends Moose Mountain twice on each lap. It runs about 5.25 miles total but in those miles is a fair amount of ups and downs. As it appears that the snow storms have decided to neglect New Hampshire this year, the course had areas that were sparsely covered with snow which made for some interesting descents as you had to negotiate roots and rocks.
After running the course and getting my loaner pair of Dion's, which I have to say make snowshoing a much more enjoyable event than running in a hiking pair, we got ready to run. The race, as always started out fast, which in this case would have been a good strategy as the course quickly tapered and the first ascent was a slow slog if you were caught behind someone who was walking. (You would have thought that I'd recognize that pitfall of the course when I ran it, but I was clearly lost in thought, or lack thereof at the time). At the summit of Moose Mountain, the trail opened up a bit and allowed for some passing, which I took advantage of. Looking back I saw Amber looking strong and gaining on me. Taking off down the hill, I realized that without the cushion and safety of snow, bombing down wasn't necessarily the best idea. Going slower than I would have otherwise, I ran with a pack of Acidotic runners for a while, while feeling Amber continue in hot pursuit. The second ascent of the first lap gave me a bit of an advantage as the trail was wide enough to pass successfully without much extra effort.
Amber, however, was in a bit of a quandry, being stuck behind a bunch of guys that were a bit slower than her on the ascents but then would bomb by her on the descent. Sparring back in forth, she looked as though she had finally gotten a substantial lead while, wham! she feel flat on her face. Not to be slowed down, a few snowshoers decided to jump right over her back. Finally, a fellow Acidotic and GCS team member Jeremiah Fitzgibbon stopped and helped her up.
The second lap went pretty uneventful for us both as we picked off a few more runners on our way to 10th overall(me) and 1st female overall(Amber). As always, there was a nice fire, hot soup and plenty to drink after the race. And at the Acidotic Team Raffle after the race, Amber won a 6-pack of Red Hook Kona Blend! It's a sign of good times!

Can you guess who jumped over her back?

Winter Wild was really fun. Though short(16 minutes total), the climb seemed tougher than the green circle label given to it for skiers. Reaching the summit as the 5th overall in the open category I quickly picked off three runners, running the majority of the race in second. However, as I neared the final 100 yards, I was past by David Veale, who ran a smarter race and picked a smarter, and firmer line for his final kick. He beat me by a solid 3 seconds which considering he made that in the last 100 is pretty impressive. I finished in a time of 16:13(6:30 pace)-3rd in the Open Category and just missing top 10 overall. The next race is at Ragged on the morning of the Exeter Snowshoe race and I'm trying to get Amber to join me this time as they really are fun.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Irongirl and Ultrarunning Boy: Moose Mountain and Whaleback


Moose Mountain and Whaleback

Tomorrow, January 16th, Feel Good Farm 9K Snowshoe Race, located Lyndeborough, NH, will be the second race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series. It looks to be a fun and challenging race. 9k is a long distance to run on snowshoes and as far as I know the longest yet to be part of the snowshoe series. It also runs up and down Moose Mountain four time so it is sure to be a hard 9k. Currently, first overall female and8th place overall male, Amber and I hope to have a good race tomorrow.
However, I won't let a fun new opportunity pass me by, so before tomorrow's 11:30 race, I will be doing Winter Wild #1 at Whaleback Mountain at 7am. Put together by Chad Denning, a former member of the now defunct EMS Adventure Racing team, Winter Wild is an uphill racing series that starts and ends at the base of a ski area-having to race up AND down it. You can choose to be in one of four categories:
1) Open category (stabilizers, running shoes, snowshoes, yaxtrax, etc), 2) Track Skis (lightweight skating/diagonal gear) 3)Telemark (full metal edged skis with a 3-pin or cable binding) or 4)Heavy Metal (alpine skis, randonee bindings, plastic boots). I plan on racing in the Open Category in either running shoes, probably my Brooks Cascadia's, or in a pair of Stabilicers. For anyone interested in joining me, the website is: http://www.winterwild.com/

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ferreira Beats Jenkins and Sean Snow?!

What a title, huh? And technically I did beat both of these great athletes. Caveat: Nate was pacing his girlfriend, Melissa Donais, at the Hangover Classic so clearly he wasn't running to win. (I'm not sure that he knew we were competing:). Running with Melissa and Nate brought me in at 37:03, a PR which was nice until I realized if I hadn't paused for the Beer Stop at mile 4.5 I would have broken 37. Darn! The hangover classic was the first race in the Will Run for Beer race series.

The next day, at Beaver Brook Snowshoe race, the first race in the Granite State Snowshoe Series, I strapped on for the first time this season, my old heavy snowshoes and toed the line. This course was probably the flattest that we'll be seeing this year with no major elevation change. Luckily, we got hit with 4-5 inches of new snow so we were able to run the original course. As always, the race started off fast and only got faster. Solid performances by CMS's Jim Johnson(1st) and Dave Dunham and Acidotic Racing's Tim Cox and Steve Wolfe rounded out four of the five top male finishers. Knowing that I'd blow up trying to keep up with those guys, I figured that I'd try to keep up with Sean Snow for as long as I could. For those of you that don't know Sean, he's probably New Hampshire's best long-distance triathlete, qualifying and competing at Kona something like five times. They say that it's actually easier to become a doctor thant to qualify for the Ironman Championships-and he's done it FIVE TIMES! When he's not tearing it up in Iron-distance events, he likes to kick my butt at any distance foot race as well. So here's the caveat: Sean had never snowshoe raced before, and I only beat him by a couple seconds and could feel him bearing down on me at the end. One hundred yards longer and I probably wouldn't have had a fun post title.
To start the New Year's off right, Amber also competed in these two races, finishing third at the Hangover Classic and First in Bear Brook. Not quite as good as beating Nate Jenkins and Sean Snow, but pretty good nonetheless.