Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Sidehiller 4 mile Snowshoe Race

The 2014 Sidehiller Snowshoe Race was a chilly and windy start to my snowshoe season. I have only run about 50 miles or so since getting my ElliptiGO last July and only four of those miles were on snowshoes (which was my longest run in all that time). While my body still doesn't seem ready for any real running, I can't give up the fun of running on snowshoes. Last week I had my best week of running in that time (14 miles total), but a four mile treadmill run two nights before the race was one run too many. My hip was sore and tight the night before the race and it took about two hours of trying to ease up the discomfort before a frog stretch finally popped everything back in place.

This was the 10th edition of the race and Sidehiller is the longest running snowshoe race in New Hampshire, but it was the first time I ever participated as Center Sandwich, NH is a bit of a drive. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn on the way up and ending up getting to the start with less than 1/2 hour to spare. It wasn't a leisurely drive trying to figure out how to get to the right place for the race without a GPS.

Strangely enough, you might remember the 1980s television show Newhart and the opening credits where they show a quaint Vermont town. Well, that town really wasn't in Vermont. The video is outtakes from the Movie "On Golden Pond" and the town is actually Center Sandwich, NH. It looks a whole lot more stress free than I felt getting to the start!

I am not in any sort of racing shape and my left hip can still get balky and while it feels OK when running, afterwards I am left with a limp and a day or two reprieve to let it calm down. I was hoping my ElliptiGO miles would carry me through the race, but I wasn't positive I could even finish.

The race ended up being a two lap affair on the fairgrounds and soon after the the start, I was already winded and second guessing my idea to race. Fortunately the course was basically flat. Within minutes of the start we had to run around a couple of buildings and it got backed up a bit. The race had two kinds of footing: a hard packed faster surface and some singletrack on some squishy snow where my left hip and leg would lose control of the snow and I had a hard time keeping my body straight. Due to my conditioning, I wasn't very fast, but my effort was intense. I was happy that I maintained good endurance throughout the race and finished. I am way back in the pack (results) these days, but I will take that over not even trying.

The race also was a qualifier for the Snowshoe National Championships in Bennington, Vermont on March 5. I am in an age group where many runners are injured, rehabbing an injury, retired, or sane. Somehow I managed to snag the fifth and final qualifier in the 55- 60 year old age group. I will have to get some better training in over the next month as that is a hilly 10k race, but I will be going to the National Championship race.

After the race, I was limping again. Later that night, I woke up with a real strong cramp in the muscles around my left back. I tried to get up, but it was really intense and I found myself knocked to the floor. I have never had any cramp so intense. It took almost an hour to settle it down, but in the morning I was OK and it did not return.

Fantastic photos of the race can he seen at:
Joe Viger Photography 
Scott Mason Photograpy
Far North Endurance

Race recap from Level Renner (or what happened up front) including video

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