Sunday, January 27, 2013

Winona Stonewall 5k Snowshoe

It was a crystal clear day at Winona State Forest.

Ashlee and myself made the nice drive up to the course at around 8am and besides all those road salts on our windshield, and a wrong turn, we made it to the race no problem. Winona State Forest is an amazing race venue up in the snowy Tug Hill Region. We made our way up interstate 81 and then hit the woods of Upstate New York.  The race site was awesome as registration went well and it was time to warm up for the run.  It was cold out in the shade of the trees but the sun was out and temps were going to make it near 20 today so perfect for a snowshoe event. I went on my warm-up on the trails and they were amazing. The first section was groomed and man could you run fast on that!  I jogged a little to the single-track section and I knew that this section would be more difficult as the snow was low in some spots and was slippery. I returned back to the site and began to suit up.  I strapped on my Dion snowshoes and off I went.  The race had a decent amount of people and with a blow of the horn, we were off.  I went with the group and the first kid neck and neck through the first groomed straight-away.  Once we hit the right turn into the woods, I was in the lead and I was running like a crazy person so it seemed.  As my first snowshoe race, I was running as hard as I could through the tough single-track. It was a narrow trail with rocks, logs, roots, steep winding down hills and up hills.  It was an honest course. At every log crossing which we had over 10 easily, I stopped to crawl over them so that I would not risk getting a snowshoe caught on the downed trees.  My heart-rate was way up and it felt like a tough mountain run. My legs were fine but my lungs were feeling it. I went out way too fast the first 1.5 miles I would say.  The terrain really slowed me down as I began to slow and adjust my pace.  At mile 2, I felt alright and did enjoy running through the forest but was a little afraid I could be caught.  I crawled up the major uphill as my standard cleat was slipping because of the slope and every sharp turn I was slipping and sliding. The race was so much fun and a great first snowshoe race!  I came out of the single track ready for the last mile or so to the finish.  Heading into groomed trail again I wanted to pick it up but my legs at this point just could not find the trail. I was running in slow motion. Once I came across the last straight-away that was there at the start, I was ready to bring it home. My cleats gripped that snow and in I went.  I finished in 23:24 about anywhere from 7:30-7:15 minute pace depending on how long the course actually was.  I was running in the six minute pace for the first 1.5 mile section then slowed into the late 7 maybe 8 minute pace then surged ahead the last 800 meters.  It was a lot tougher than I imagined.  How am I going to blaze a 10k in two weeks?

Lessons from the race: *Do not go out 100% all out from the get-go. * Pace yourself.  * Snowshoe running makes your heart and lungs suffer so easing into a nice pace allows for a strong finish.  * Practice makes perfect!   * Just like trail running but with snow and weird things on your feet. *You warm-up so much from snowshoe running that heavy layers are not needed!

Thank you to everyone responsible including Matt Westerlund for a wonderful event!

The Race Photos!!!!!

Here are the listed results:

And an article about the race:

Monday--90 minute long hill run in the snow. First half to Strafford Road in Virgil had me inhaling ice particles. On the way back, the snow/mix subsided which was very nice! A solid 15 miles in today and some nice climbing with snow underfoot which doubles the amount of effort. It was honestly a nice workout considering the icy snow hitting my face.  The whole way out, the wind and the sleet was forcing me to keep only one eye open at a time as the pummeling precipitation made things a little difficult.  Overall, it was a good workout and my legs are sore from both the snowshoe effort and today's run.

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