-Running a marathon, in the rain and temperatures in the mid 30's -40's.
-Running a marathon, in the rain, with decent elevation gain and loss.
-Running a marathon, in the rain, with decent elevation gain and loss on snowshoes.
-Running a marathon, in the rain, with decent elevation gain and loss on snowshoes on largely ungroomed single track trails.
*How else would I want to spend my Saturday?
Peak races in Pittsfield, VT is notorious for putting on challenging races during all seasons. For a change of scenery and pace I opted to do the full snowshoe marathon as a training run. I had run the race once before and suffered so severely that I vowed to never enter the race again. I guess that time helps memories and pain fade.
|My drop bag supervisor!|
The third lap proved to be more of the same. We were now passing some people for the first or second time and had lots of cheers and words of encouragement for "girl power". It was actually really motivating and inspiring, because despite not red lining it we were rocking it stride for stride. As we got closer and closer to the summit the wind began to pick up and the storm clouds were imminent. After reaching the summit and descending for about a mile we stopped for a quick bathroom break and then quickly got back to pace. On this downhill some areas were beginning to get muddy and wet while other areas were just getting so packed and firm that by just leaning back I would slide down it on the tails of my snowshoes. Again as we came into the lap area were right on schedule and I was amazed at how even our laps were shaking out to be.
As we continued to overtake other racers we joked that we were simply trying to outrun the weather. We were joking, yet we were serious. Every step we took, and every climb we finished, Amy reminded me that it was our last of the day. About a two miles from the top Amy commented that we could finish at 4:45 and that would be a nice even finishing time. I looked at my watch and picked up the pace a little. Just before reaching the summit she re-evaluated and said well 4:50 would be round and nice as well. I knew in my head I could make 4:45 happen. We would have to push a few sections a little bit harder, but could do so while still playing it safe on the direct downhills. As we descended off the last piece of single track, across what I deemed the sketchy bridge and onto the snowmobile track Amy looked at her watch and said, "We can do it!" We came to the last corner and I joked about standing there for two minutes so we could finish at a nice even time. We crossed the line with the rain coming down on us and looked around for the timers. We were both saying "We finished" and then the timers popped out of a car and asked for our numbers for an approxiamte finish time of 4:43. Here is a peek at what my Garmin recorded. The satellite did not track all of the tight switchbacks so some mileage and elevation was not recorded. Either way it is interesting to see the elevation profile and pacing (click on "view details").
All the runners and hikers were truly amazing but what kept me captivated and curious was the Winter Death Race that was going on. Men and women chopping wood, hauling the wood they chopped up the mountain, retrieving buckets of rocks from a cold stream which they had to wade in, building bird house, etc. Certainly not a race for me, but crazy to see the level of suffering and determination.
I did find a competitor to chat with as he constructed his bird house. His sense of humor was still intact and strong so I explained to him that I would gladly have him over to my house to complete manual labor and I would even be willing to do so without a race entry fee.