Sunday, March 04, 2012

Bradbury Blizzard Snowshoe Race Report

Finally. A snowshoe race where I was happy with my performance. In all of my previous races, I've felt I was stuck in low gear. The rhythm of it takes some getting used to, at least for me. But today, I felt great and in sync. The fast snow conditions probably had a lot to do with that, along with taking the last two days off, but I'll gladly take it.

Big thanks to Ryan, Ian and all of the volunteers for helping put on an incredible race series that was a lot of fun! While today might have been quasi-warm, the other two races were definitely pretty darn cold. Not the easiest conditions to stand around and volunteer in while a bunch of folks are running around in the woods in snowshoes.

Kate and I arrived early to help out and socialize. As it got closer to the start time, Zak and I headed out for a warm-up on the course. "I'm feeling quite spry," is what I think I told Zak. My legs were fresh from the extra rest and I was feeling very energetic. The trails were also fast...the snow was packed down and pretty solid, thanks to the rain the other day. Barring some sort of meltdown, fall or some other catastrophe, I could tell I was going to have a good race as long as I was careful (read: not blow the engine out).

Pre-race. Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. 
We lined up and I saw David. I mentioned to him that we were close in the series standings. He was genuinely shocked by this, not knowing anything about them. He asked which of us was ahead and I told him I was. Then, he asked by how much. I smiled and said I wouldn't tell him and teased him about not doing his homework. To egg him on further, I told him somebody was between us in the standings. He asked who. I smiled and said I wasn't going to tell him (it was Zak).

The Race
We're off! Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. 
Fast start. Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. 
Ready, set, go and we were off. Within the first few hundred yards I was in third place behind Judson and Ian. Uh oh. No, that's not good. They're wicked fast. But I was mindful that while I felt my pace was a bit on the fast side for me, it was also somewhat reasonable. I wasn't killing myself here as I've done before in a few other snowshoe races.

Shortly thereafter I backed off a little and made room for Andy and waved him to pass. A little bit later I did the same for Scott. And then Jeff. On one hand, that was good as I knew those guys should be in front of me but on the other hand, I also wondered, "Okay, who's next?" I turned around and didn't see anybody in sight. Sixth place for now. Cool. The plan was now to try and hold that.

Jeff and I, just after he passed me. Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. 
At one point, I'm guessing maybe a mile or two in, a series of turns on the trails allowed me to see further back down the course and I noticed Peter and David running together. They appeared to be gaining. I had some distance on them still but wanted to keep it that way.

The course turned and traversed some more. At times I could catch glimpses of the pack that was Ian, Jeff, Scott and Andy. They were ahead considerably, but not as much as I thought they were. That made me feel good because it verified that I was indeed running well. I also saw Peter and David again, noticing that Peter was gaining some ground but David was now behind him and seemed to possibly be dropping back a bit.

On a straight away a bit later and I noticed Andy was falling off from the pack a little, but still quite a ways ahead. I was more concerned about Peter and David behind me. I turned around and saw Peter alone.

More twists and turns through the woods. I noticed I was every so slowly gaining more ground on Andy. Earlier, he would disappear from sight as the course navigated around and over the boulders, trees and hills. But now he was in sight more as I was geting closer.

A bit of a straightaway now and Peter didn't appear to be gaining and remained in place a hundred or so yards behind. Andy was now just a few dozen feet ahead and the trail took a right turn that I recognized. I knew there was only about a half a mile left, maybe less.

The trail was wide here and I caught up to Andy and decided to go ahead and make a move. I passed him and picked up the pace a little. It was kind of early to do that and strategically it might have been smarter to wait a litte bit, but fortunately it worked out okay. Andy is a beast. I have no chance of catching him during trail (or road) races, but snowshoe racing tends to mix up the variables in illogical fashion and plus I was having a good day.

I saw the finish line ahead and then initiated the rest of my kick and crossed the line in 40:27, good enough for fifth place. Sweet! I was very stoked about that.

Post Race
As usual, after I finish a hard run and my heart rate starts to drop, my stomach began to churn. I didn't puke though. I'm not sure whether to be proud or ashamed of that.

Afterwards, a myriad of us went for a cool down run along the side of the road (sans snowshoes) and it was a lot of fun trading war stories. Then the awards! This year they awarded long sleeved Bad Ass tech shirts from Atayne to those that ran all three races. Very, very nice, as is the race shirt for this race in particular. The beer theme for all of the shirt designs look great!  I also won a Dion Snowshoes beanie in the raffle. Very fun day!

Chillin' with Andy and Randy after the race. Courtesy: Maine Running Photos. 
Ran 4.5 miles @ 8:58/mile pace.
Official time: 40:27
Placing: 5th out of 37.
Series placing: 4th out of 11.
Trails with packed snow.
Moderately hilly.
Upper 30s, mostly cloudy.
Dion 121 snowshoes w/ New Balance MT110, long tights, short sleeved shirt, cap, gloves.


unstrung said...

congrats, jamie! sounds like a wicked finish - way to slaughter it.

middle.professor said...

Great race Jamie. Fresh legs are wonderful. Now you can focus on that little race in Boston!

Sparkplug said...

Nice race, Jamie!

mindy said...

Fantastic race J-Rock - love how you took the blizzard by it's horns (if blizzards had horns, which they might...). Killer race!

Scout said...

I was so confused at the start of your post; I thought I'd clicked on Ann's race report! It took me a couple of lines to figure things out.

Great job!!! You made a quantum leap snowshoeing!