Monday, February 10, 2014

Valentines, Running in the Snow and the PA State Snowshoe Championships---Feb 14-16---Prep for Snowshoe Nationals

So I had to cancel the trip out to PA for the snowshoe race because my amazing girlfriend, Ashlee ended up getting severely sick with one of the worst sinus infections I have ever witnessed. 2 weeks later and she still is having headaches and feeling off.  It would have been nice to run a tune-up race but I can always get in a nice 10 mile snowshoe run as preparation for the big dance!  I have been able to keep my mileage consistent even with running in deep slippery snow which has slowed my running.  Just today, running in snowy roads made every effort to gain traction seem like I was running in waist-deep snow.  An absolutely exhausting run where I got some nice vertical near 1,500 feet of elevation gained in 11 miles but averaged like 7:40 a mile for the run which is about a minute a mile slower on that same loop most days.  It has been like this all winter just getting in the time and mileage and hoping I can gain some traction for once the snow melts.

USA Snowshoe Nationals is going to be my next big race and it is going to be a fun one. With lots of great athletes I am excited to see where I stack-up.  I think I have the potential to make the team and really this year in my two snowshoe races have not run well or at least to my potential I think. The Cockadoodle shoe I was mentally drained getting stuck in the ice and at Highland Forest not only did I leave people off-course but I ran more conservative looking to wear-down the racers rather than sprinting out to the front.  What I learned from the races is that I need to stay focused on position and that if I run comfortably and draft a little once it comes to that last downhill sections watch out! I want to run smart and fast at Nationals. I want to give it all I have and to leave it all out there. I want to crawl to the finish the last 10 meters.  I hope to blitz those with some quick speed.  It is going to be interesting how Nationals will play out. I do know it is going to be an amazing experience and I cannot wait to share it with everyone.  Stay warm and see everyone in Bennington, Vermont.

Sights and sounds of a Cortland, NY Winter:
My trusty Mammut MTR 141's have been my road/snow/trail shoes this winter getting in the miles and staying super durable. I have had these shoes for about a year now and they have still run like brand new.  Mammut makes some of the most durable products out there and their footwear is exception to the rule.

How my running has played out:  
Lots of snow, wind, and hills have made for a slower type of winter training but worth building the proper strength.

View of Greek Peak Ski Resort in the distance.

LimeHollow Nature Center 10 mile Snowshoe run Prep for Snowshoe Nationals:

I had the chance to run around Limehollow before the warm-up and as the temps were near 34 degrees, I thought some nice melting snow would make for a faster run. I was right!

View on the Wilderness Way Trail. A Long and windy trail through the woods.

I felt really solid averaging about 7:30's for the run with some deep snow, fast single track, and snowmobile trails that felt like a race track.  This run has provided me with some confidence heading into Nationals. I feel strong and even though I have not managed insane mileage this winter, I have done some great core runs like this one where with snowshoes, I hit some 6:30 miles and also have been working on my uphill technique. Nationals is going to have a nice long climb which I am excited for as it will pack people up for the fast downhill which I hope to blow by and secure a podium spot.

The City of Cortland from our 3rd Floor Window-View

 Training has been very interesting this winter as life has made getting in any type of run longer than 14-16 miles pretty tough as my time is pretty jam-packed. Luckily, I have been able to keep solid 10-12 mile runs almost every day which equates still to a nice base that I can begin to build my longer runs once Ultra season comes around the corner in June for me which will be (ice and snow-LESS)  which will be a very exciting thing. It is pretty funny but I have a feeling that all this tough running through deep snow, intense winds, cold temps and short days will all lend itself to a great Summer and Fall of racing.  Though my training may not look incredible on paper, I think the types of footing I have experienced and the tough conditions will allow for me to build up some extra strength that will help play into some fast times.

My amazing girlfriend Ashlee takes the best photos and braves the cold for a guy like me. She is truly the best!

For Races I have commited to:

Cayuga Trails 50---Going to be a super-competitive event with the race as the host-site for the USA 50 Mile Trail Championships. There will be some great runners coming from all over the country for the opportunity of running some Upstate New York terrain.  I look forward to besting my 9th place finish with a top 3 as I was close to that in 4th last year before I twisted my ankle which stopped me in my tracks. 

Manitou's Revenge 54 Miler---This race is crazy! Anytime you summit high peaks in a region, especially the rocky Catskills, it is going to be a fun time. For one, I hope not to fall off an escarpment or embankment, I hope not to get lost as well, and I hope maybe my leg speed and climbing legs will help me run a fast time for such a crazy course. I hope I get to run with Acidotic Team-mate Ryan Welts up front.

Virgil Crest 50k----I ran the Virgil 50 Miler last year and beat up my feet and legs pretty bad. This course takes a lot out of your legs. I have always wanted to run the 50k and with a new course design, I would love to crush a super fast time. Sub 4 hours is the goal which would be pretty legendary on such a rocky, rooty, up and down technical course like Virgil Crest. While Manitous' has sections that are not true runnable sections, Virgil has runnable sections the whole way through yet they are slow going.  Any time you run on the Finger Lakes Trail, the pace slows down from even hilly road running.  I am very excited about running my home-town ultra again this year but in a different distance.

Races in Question:  Call of the Wilds Trail Marathon----With the Eastern States 100 going on, who would not want to be apart of that excitement. And with a say 2.5-3 hour drive, the distance is not too bad. I may or may not run the race but if it fits my schedule, then I am in for some fun!

Tussey Mountainback 50---I guess I missed registration and if I cannot get into the race as an elite entry, then I will plan on running the Syracuse Marathon which is I think on the same day. I would love to run Tussey and as a historic race with great competition, I would love to see how I stack-up with some of the best road 50 milers in the country.  I would like to think of myself in their company and I hope a great performance at this event could prove it.

JFK 50---Come April 1st, I hope to get an elite spot in a race I am dying to do. If I can get in, I have a feeling I will do some great things on the towpath.  JFK suits my strengths in so many ways as a nice consistent pace will play into the go slow during the AT then Sprint the Towpath then hold on for dear life strategy. I would rather run the AT strong and come off onto the Towpath in a consistent and relaxed pace. I hope to be one of my breakout races.

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