On the training front the running is still going well and I've worked my way up to an average of 40 miles per week and the legs feeling pretty good. I'm hoping to hit an average of 50 miles per week next month and then reevaluate. It is also getting close to time for me to add in real cycling and swimming for IMCdA.
Ir racing news there is the little matter of the Sandia Peak Snowshoe Race. Holy cow that was tough! The race took place on the peak of the Sandia Mountains at an elevation of about 10,200 and was 3.2 miles. A couple small sections were on forest road but the majority was on single track trails. I have a pair of snowshoes that are not exactly for racing but really more for hiking and winter back packing so they are pretty big and not tapered at the back. It was, as you can imagine, like running in big clown shoes which worked out well since my nose was red from the sub 10 temperatures.
I didn't have any idea what to wear in a snowshoe race beyond the obvious snow shoes so I went with my heaviest gloves, snow boots, my running tights, a heavy long sleeve tech-t, a wind breaker vest and a skull cap. I was FREEZING until the race started and then within about 5 yards I was very comfortable. Not knowing how I should be pacing myself for such an event I just ran at what felt like a comfortable jog and that put me up toward the front of the pack.
The leaders and I quickly outpaced the remainder of the runners and I found myself playing caboose and the front runners stretched out ahead of me once we hit the single track. I felt like I was in a pretty good rhythm and was having minimal trouble keeping my giant snowshoes from overlapping. I was running easily so I decided to pick it up a bit and was really moving on the downhill sections until I caught a tip and did a face plant on a downhill slope. Fortunately I wasn't in a spot surrounded by deep soft snow so I was able to use a tree and get my feet pretty quickly.
Off again I was still the caboose of the leading pack but was beginning to fall further behind due to the fall. Now I was pretty much alone in the woods in that the trees and snow do a great job at dampening sound and the trail wound so much that you could only catch brief glimpses of people. So I was running along and for the first time became aware of a metallic clicking right on my tail. I thought someone was coming up behind me so I pushed harder to stay ahead but the clicking was relentless. At the next turn I glanced over my shoulder and saw absolutely nobody, it was my own snowshoes that I was running from.
As the race progressed I was really starting to wear down and the hills were getting pretty steep because we were now heading back up the mountain after an initial descent. I finally saw a couple people ahead who looked like they were lagging so I picked it up ans best i could and started trying to pick them off. I was able to pass three people before exiting the trail and getting back on the forest road for the final 100 yards. There was one last guy maybe 15 yards ahead and he was walking. I thought, "What the hell" and started running for all I was worth. I passed the guy and he said "Gotta pass one more person huh?" and then he started running. It was a spring finish with maybe 30 yards to go and we were both running hard and breathing harder. It looked like we crossed the finish line at the exact same time but the final results have me beating him out by 1 second.
As it turns out I was the first of 6 Outlaws to finish and was 21st out of 85 overall with a total time of 44:10, not too shabby. The guy who won did it in an amazing 29 minutes!
I doubt I'll take snow shoe racing up as a sport but I will definitely return to the Sandia Snowshoe Race next year.