about the photo

Downtown Temple,NH

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Apparently I was Wrong

Less than a week ago I wrote that Sidehiller was the single worst snowshoe experience I've ever had. Ha, I should have waited one more day! PULL UP, PULL UP! Crash & burn. It was not pretty. Captain Snowshoe calls these stinkers but in reality I don't think I've ever worked harder or pushed my body further than I have in the last 2-3 weeks. Unfortunately working hard does not mean going fast, it just means working hard. Sometimes hard work is slow....really slow....like a turtle (no offense to the Tuesday Night Turtles, most of who beat me each week). A nasty respiratory infection has seriously affected my ability to breath, which surprisingly is needed quite often in snowshoe racing. The good news (really?) is I've finally accepted the fact it might be a while before I'm healthy again. Basically what this means is I'll continue snowshoe racing each weekend, but you won't find me seeding myself up near the front any time soon. Start back, stay back and enjoy the view!

A true representation of how I felt
The latest Granite State Snowshoe race was the Exeter Snowshoe Hullaballoo (results) in Fort Rock. The 4.4 mile, 100% snowshoe single track course was excellent. Scenic, rolling, well marked. Just a great course. However, contrary to what co-race director Ri Fahnestock said, the conditions were not fast! I thought the loose, sugary snow represented some of the toughest conditions we've seen all year. Of course it could have been me.
At the start I thought I had seeded myself appropriately, several rows back but not too far back. I tucked in behind Amber and Chris right from the start and the pace was relatively easy for the first 5 to 10 minutes. I generally had no problems staying with the pace line in front. Well I guess the folks up front thought the pace was too easy and soon some passing was going on (some successful, some not). A few took advantage of some stomped out passing zones, but eventually some of the slower runners up front just stepped off for a second to let the train go by. Fortunately or unfortunately I got disconnected from the train on one of these passes and lost contact with the group in front pretty quickly as I got boxed in. At the time it was quite frustrating but looking back it had no effect on my race. I'd soon die a slow, painful death all by myself. If the race was 10 minutes long, I'd be in the game. It wasn't and I wasn't.
For the next several miles I trailed teammate Jerry Fitzgibbons, but the gap was increasing as the race went on and I was struggling BIG time. About 30 minutes in both calves started to cramp up, forcing me to slow down (ha, just writing that makes me laugh! Slow down...if I went any slower I'd be going backwards). Heck, I was walking some of the flat sections at times. I'd speed up (we're talking slug-like speed), cramp up, and then slow down again. Gee it was fun.
About a half mile from the finish Kristina Folcik finally caught up to me so I asked if she wanted to go by. Of course she said yes (apparently she wanted to finish before the sun went down). There wasn't anyone else behind me so I put it into cruise control and shuffled my way to the finish (heck, I think I actually walked across the finish line).Yikes.
I quickly changed out of my wet clothes, had some great soup and hung out by the fire pits for a while. Except for the actual racing part, snowshoe racing is a lot of fun. Good times, good company.
Turns out my calf problems was probably due to dehydration. My calves cramped up so bad during the race that I had multiple bruises on both right afterwords.Very strange.
So for the second weekend in a row, I followed up a crappy snowshoe race on Saturday with a visit to the doctors office on Sunday. Maybe I'll try something different next weekend (or maybe not).

Favorite quote: " I can't believe you looked THAT awful and I still lost to you" - Michael Wade

photo Credit - Tim Lindsey