Sunday, February 10, 2013

Highland Forest 10k SNowshoe NY Unofficial Championship

This race was a very memorable moment for me.  Not only does this facility have the potential to be the site of the 2014 Snowshoe Nationals, but it also served as a qualifier for this years nationals in Bend, Oregon.  Since I just have been accepted as a member of the USA Snowshoe Association, which entitles me running in Oregon!

Driving up the the lodge this morning on 81, the snow was glistening and the sun was out.  Truly a picture-perfect winter day for outdoor snow activities as low 20's greeted us.  We hit the lodge road by Tully in 30 minutes and up to the sky we went. the Skyline Lodge at Highland Forest, sits on top a nice big hill overlooking the farmland below. It was a wonderful site and even greater to have Ashlee and my father there.  I was so enamored with the lodge that I almost forgot to warm-up. The race was to begin at 10am and it was already 9:40.  I went for my warm-up of a quick 10 minutes just taking in the sights.  It was still a crisp day though you just knew the weather was going to be perfect.  The big snow storm a few days earlier would make for a nice trail. Little did I know, that some sections of the trail especially in the single-track were not trampled down the way anyone was hoping. That is why the times were slower.  So far, I have learned that New York State snowshoe running is slower because of the courses that involve tough single-track and a few double-track slightly groomed sections.  But the majority of any course is located in the woods winding around at 8 minute pace.  I went out from the gun and just ran in a rhythm.  I was just running through the snow. I was not running crazy just the best I could.  After one of the downhill sections, the course conditions improved and then I was able to go from a 8 minute mile to  a 5:50.  I was flying which I think helped to increase my lead.  I flew through the course going up and down.  It was at this point that I came across a snow bridge and a man was screaming that I was crushing the course and he could not see anyone back behind me.  I knew I had a chance for the win.  I just had to relax and run my own race.  My legs were on fire as the last few climbs out of the woods made me feel it.  I crested out of the woods coming around high 24 minutes which was not horrible but not flying in terms of what I thought.  I began the second loop through the bad footing and that next mile was snail pace. I almost wanted to drop out or walk as my legs were seizing up on me.  My lungs burned and I felt like I was done.  I just then sucked it up and ran the best  I could. It was only after that probably 9:30 minute mile that I caught a second wind and then regained my traction and was bombing down and up the hills.  I probably averaged 7 minute mile pace the rest of the way.  The second half went by fast and then the two bridges came up on me and I knew the race was over.  I ran to the line feeling rejuvenated and finishing in 50:34 which was a great time for the course on that day.  People said I was flying so I guess I was running really well out there.

Snowshoe running is so different in terms of pace for me that no matter what I do, I feel slow.  So for those of you out there, 50:34 on that particular Highland Forest course would probably equate to a 42-44 minute 10k on a standard course.  On a flat course, forget about it, I bet I could average somewhere in the 6 minute a mile range as I have in practice runs.

And so my ticket is punched for Nationals.  I have to raise some money for the airfare and trip but once that occurs, I should be good to go.  If you know of anyone that would like to contribute, please let me know.  I am always open for advice and help.

Here is a link to the report done on the race!  It was a blast!

Highland Forest 5 & 10k Snowshoe Race & Walk
Fabius, NY  

Last NameFirst Name5K/10KGenderFinsih TimePlacement
Westerlund Matt10KM56:05:004th
Cutting Shannon 10KF1:06:298th

Results taken from USA

Here is me kicking up snow heading into the finish! I am going right...away from the arrows that indicate another lap!

Here is me running uphill through the woods coming out of the long series of tough single-track trail!

The back of my head at the start!!!!! only 6 more miles to go!

The Dramatic start of snowshoe racing. The snow flies in the air and everyone is off to run as fast as they can!

The Finish!!!!!

I had my acidotic shirt underneath my Scott Half Zip because I just felt too cold and for some reason snow kept sneaking under my shirt into my back section which as many snowshoers know is quite unpleasant.  I won all kinds of great gifts as well as two hand-crafted medals and a gift certificate and an amazing Nathan Labs Flurry hydration set which is designed for long-term snowshoe runs and other cold-weather outdoor pursuits!  

Thank you to my father, Chuck, My sponsors, Acidotic Racing, Ok Runner, The Finger Lakes Running Company, Karhu, Craft Sports, and Sierra Designs for all the great product, support, and leadership that helps to make days like these for me, worthwhile!    Thank you!

Monday Feb 11---Well, I have made my bid for nationals though I am still trying to figure out whether that went through ok so I do not have to drive out to Pennsylvania to run one more race just to qualify but if for some reason I have to, I will.  I ran a nice hill run out to Mcgraw up the hill right by the turn-off that is by all the gas stations near the interstate.  I was sore from a tough race and took the morning to just relax and run easy.  Of course, I have to run fast enough to ensure that I can make it back home to get ready for work.  So, I did just that. I ran easy and then pushed up the hills and the freezing rain made things difficult so  I took it easy on any portion of the road that felt slick.  I ran about 11 miles and 74 minutes not bad for a morning then got ready for another day of work.

Tuesday-- Feb 12---82 minute run out from work past Limehollow and the town of Mcclean out into the barren farm country of Groton.  It was a nice peaceful run. I ran well and got in a nice endurance workout.  It was cold at times but I had the layers on so I was doing just fine.  I am so excited about snowshoe running right now I cannot wait to do some more!

Wednesday Feb 13----Run in the morning out along Albany street up some hills. I ran very easy for a nice 71 minute run, stopped for a bathroom break and used the hills as a nice hard stimulus.  Other than that, I am just trying to let my body rest up and get ready for race time in Oregon!  This weekend, I plan on getting in a nice snowshoe effort to tax the body and see how I am doing in preparation for nationals.
For Penn State Snowshoe Champs form if I need it!

No comments:

Post a Comment