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Downtown Temple,NH

Monday, January 24, 2011

Whittaker Woods Snowshoe

Thursday afternoon - sick in bed
Friday all day - sick in bed
Saturday - Snowshoe Race
Sunday all day - sick in bed

It's like a classic Sesame Street episode. Which one of these things is not like the other? You're probably humming a lame tune by now so you can thank me later. The bottom line is I probably shouldn't have raced on Saturday, but as my lovely wife always says to me "you can't help yourself!"
As noted above, I've been sick for over a week now. I wasn't planning on doing the Whittaker Woods snowshoe race (results) initially. I had signed up for the Boston Prep moderately challenging 16-miler on Sunday and figured I didn't need any additional pain and suffering. However, a DNF in last weeks snowshoe race had me rethinking my plans. Then I got sick. The chances of me recovering enough to run 16 miles by Sunday did not look good. I figured it might be easier struggling through 4 miles on the snow instead. Worst case, I'd suffer badly but it would make my decision for Sunday easier. Best case I'd miraculously recover on the 2hr drive to North Conway, have a great race and run the 16-miler on Sunday to boot! I picked A.

photo credit - Gianina Lindsey
I tried to go out easy but even easy felt hard (that doesn't make any sense?). Thankfully the conditions were great, with 3/4 of the race on nicely groomed trails. The climbing was challenging but not killer. In fact, it was probably a fast course. I think I would have liked the course if I felt a little better. I'd definitely come back if they put it on again next year.
Here's another head scratcher for you: If I ran a little slower, I probably would have finished faster.  This had to do with a little course snafu. It turns out there were a couple of sections where you could actually go off course and gain an advantage (more like course cutting). None of it was intentional, but it seems like quite a few did, and others were not sure. So a bunch of folks who were behind me actually finished in front of me. Like a lot of snowshoe or trail races, you have to pay attention to course markings. It's almost part of the charm. Whittaker Woods wasn't poorly marked, it was just sparsely marked. During a warm up run with a bunch of folks I made a note of this. So I followed the trail markings, and not the runner in front of me. Thankfully, the runners in front of me stayed on course.

So running a snowshoe race on Saturday actually made it much easier to decide whether to run on Sunday. Granted, I was packed up and ready to go Sunday morning but in the end common sense prevailed.