Training Update and Qualifying for the USSA National Championships

I thought last week would be a wash after two unplanned rest days and a speed session cut-short by a tight calf muscle, but at 37 miles it wasn’t the set-back I thought it might be.

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After a fantastic snowshoe race last Saturday, I spent four hours in the car on Sunday and then again on Monday. That car ride caused my body to practically seize-up. I managed a comfortable 8 miles on the treadmill with 10 min in the middle at tempo pace, but by the end of Tuesday my lower back was sore and stiff and my left calf was super tight. (And to be completely honest I didn’t do to much about it.) I made it to the chiropractor again on Wednesday, got in some good stretching and was feeling ready to get after it in a good speed session on Thursday. I went into the workout wanting to “make it count” since it I’d taken an unplanned rest day on Wednesday. But about 3 miles into it I had to cut it short, my calf was screaming. I was supposed to do a ladder workout:  1600m, 1200m, 800m, 400m, 400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m. I managed my warm up, 1600m and then about 400m of the 1200, before calling it quits 3 miles into what was supposed to be 9 miles. I finished off Thursday with a good sweat session at barre class. It gave me a chance to warm up my body and get in some deep stretching. I avoided anything that irritated my calf muscle.

At that point I was feeling rather disappointed that after fighting a cold and finally getting my body loosened back up it still wasn’t quite ready to go. I’d run all of 11 miles for the week and didn’t have high hopes of running much more. I spent most of Friday alternating between foam rolling, heat and stretching, then ran a comfortable five miles in the afternoon on the treadmill with minimal discomfort in my calf and spent the evening repeating the rolling, heat and stretching. Also my husband took the Tiger Tail to my calf and worked on the tight spot, it was painful and I seriously had to breath through it like it was childbirth, but by the time he’d finished the majority of the tightness was gone.

By Saturday morning I was feeling good, loose and ready to race again at the Exeter Snowshoe Hullabaloo another great race put on by Acidotic Racing. The race day conditions were a mix of perfectly warm temperatures and soft-mushy snow. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about snowshoe racing is that conditions are variable and you can never count on any kind of consistency, you simply have to go with what the day brings you. But from the first step I knew I wasn’t 100%, my calf tightened right up. There’s something about the uneven terrain and soft snow that really aggravated it the first time and seems to re-aggirvate it when I run in snowshoes. I know I could have opted not to run the race, but with only a few left in the season I decided I’d rather do it than not. I had a relatively strong race, it felt like a harder effort than the Kingman Farm Snowshoe race, probably because the course was challenging: plenty of little hills and no flats. I stayed evenly paced and finished 6th female overall. I was a little disappointed that I let another girl pass me in the last 1/10th of a mile before the finish. I thought we still had 1/2 a mile to go and didn’t think I had it in me to hold her off, so I let her go only to come up over the small rise and see the finish line. I wish I’d held on to 5th place. That’s my only regret from the race, otherwise it was great fun!

Start picture thanks to SNAPAcidotic.

Start picture thanks to SNAPAcidotic.

Finish picture thanks to SNAPAcidotic.

Finish picture thanks to SNAPAcidotic.

Despite giving away that spot I still managed to qualify for the National Snowshoe Championships in Vermont this coming weekend. Kind of cool considering I’m a total newbie at this. It seems that the qualifying standard aren’t terribly stringent, so it’s not like I’m crazy fast. I’d love to go, but I’m not sure it’s feasible with our current family schedule for that weekend. My husband is taking a major certification test on Saturday in Maine and the logistics of kids plus parents needing/wanting to be in two different New England states on the same day just doesn’t seem possible. I have to admit it is pretty cool to see my  name on the list of qualified athletes though:)

After Saturday’s race I decided my long run on Sunday would be somewhat of a recovery run. I was expecting to feel the same pinching pain/tightness in my left calf that I felt in the first step of Saturday’s race, but my calf felt fine. It was a non-issue. It still felt a bit tight and stiff walking around the house after my run, but for the most part if feels fine. I guess further confirmation that it is the soft snow and snowshoes that seem to aggravate it (all the more reason not to race at Nationals considering I’ve got some key long runs and races coming up). I ran 16 miles at recovery pace, simply because my body didn’t want to go much faster and the conditions were very icy. The warm temperatures from Saturday had caused a lot of the snow to melt, puddle in the road and then turn into ice rinks overnight.  I have a feeling this is going to be the story for the next few weeks as spring approaches. There were portions where I gingerly walked across ice patches or zig-zagged across the street simply to run on dry ground. Not exactly conditions where you’d want to push the pace. My overall pace reflected the walking. It’s OK. I’d rather have a slower overall pace and run outside than run 16 miles on the treadmill again;)

This week everything is feeling good. I’m not sick. My back is good and my calf is loosening. Hoping that this week is stronger and a step up in the mileage department.

How is your training going?


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  1. Becky says

    so I wanted to get into snowshoe racing this year, but have a FT job, it only leaves weekends to train. Then, we had no real snow until January (when all the races are!) and I had to take about 6 weeks off for a nagging fall running issue w/ a knee. After seeing your posts and the fact that you love it, I’m completely SOLD on doing it next year. I want to purchase some Dion snow shows; I’ve heard great things about them.

    EXCITED for you to have qualified for Nationals in your first season as a newbie :) Very cool. And the race pics from last weekend — amazing!! You look beautiful and strong – while running a race and working hard. That’s difficult to pull off :)

    • scanney says

      I honestly didn’t do any training other than my usual running schedule and I managed two snowshoe runs in the woods near our house. I’d love to get my own Dion Snowshoes, but it was really convenient that Acidotic Racing (the company that put on the race) allowed me to rent them for only $5. But it’s first come first serve with the rentals so you have to be right on top of it or you might get stuck shoe-less. haha!

  2. says

    I have to admit, reading all about snowshoe racing and New England towns (New Hampshire and Maine) gets me really homesick. I would love to experience snowshoe racing someday. I hope you have a great running week! I am ramping up training for my first race of the season April 13th – a Half Marathon through NYC Central Park. Also looking forward to many trips “home” to Maine this summer. I have a few Maine races lined up. Take care!

  3. says

    Wow – congratulations! It would be awesome if it worked out for you to go – what a fun experience. I love the pictures of you on the snowshoes – you look so strong!!!

    • scanney says

      Thanks Kim! I felt really strong and badass running through the snow like that! I don’t think it will workout:/ Which is a bummer but I’d rather not send my family into a tizzy trying to get there.

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