Basically I felt like I was dying. The course of Saturday’s race was a challenging one, with mushy snow conditions, some decent ascents and a two-loop course it definitely took a lot of mental focus to get through the second lap. With about a mile left I felt like I was giving my best effort, breathing hard, but barely moving. The thing about snowshoe racing is that you can run what feels like a 5K effort and be going the pace of a recovery run. You feel like the scenery around you should be flying past, but in reality you’re just taking slow slogging steps and barely going anywhere.
The race was at Branch Hill Farm in Milton Mills, NH it’s a gorgeous old farm that has 3,000 acres committed to conservation. Most of the land is criss-crossed by multi-use trails. It’s gorgeous and so quintessential New England.
The whole family came again and hung around the bonfire at the start area where they kept warm and watched me loop through. Later the kids appointed themselves Recycling Directors and helped every make sure they put their trash in the proper bins.
For most of the first lap I hung with the front pack of runners and could see the lead guys ahead up until about the 1.25 mile mark. The thing about double loops is that you go hard and as you’re running you realize that you’ll have to do all the challenging parts of the course a second time. As I looped through the finish area I could hear my family cheering for me, but I definitely slowed knowing that I still had another two miles of tough trails ahead. As we went back into the woods on the second lap, I lost sight of the first woman and was mostly myself.
In the last mile or so of the race I felt like I was running considerably slower than the first lap. Even though I wear my Garmin on these races I rarely look at them when they mile beeps, I’m so focused on my effort and not falling on my face that I just don’t even think to look. I was surprised when I saw that my first mile split and third mile split were exactly the same: 9:25/ mile. My fourth mile split was about 13 seconds slower than my second mile split (8:50 and 9:03 respectively), so I definitely slowed on that last lap but not nearly as much as I felt like I had. I ended up finishing second female overall. I’m always chasing Leslie, she pretty much dominates the snowshoe racing scene, mountain running scene…and pretty much every race in New England:) She’s a great competitor and super nice.
As soon as I crossed the finish line I felt totally spent and my head throbbed a bit. I felt at the beginning of the race that I might be coming down with a cold and when I finished I thought: I’m definitely getting sick. But today I feel fine, not sure if that’s because I’ve been drinking lots of recovery tea or what?
Finger’s crossed there will be a double header this weekend with snowshoe races on both Saturday and Sunday. We just need some new snow to fall and stay.
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