Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Horse Hill Snowshoe Race

photos courtesy of Gianina Lindsey

Last weekend I raced in the Horse Hill Snowshoe race in Merrimack, NH. I am not exactly sure "race" is the correct word as I am transitioning to a different mode of thinking towards races. The previous week I was going to race the Beaver Brook Snowshoe race in nearby Hollis, NH, but because the way the time of the race was listed on a website, I showed up an hour late to the race and only got to watch the second half of the racers complete the course. I saw exhausted snowshoers sprinting in to the finish and you know what? I didn't care about their times or even who was ahead of who. It just looked fun and invigorating. I took a lesson from this and realized that I am not a racer anymore or in shape to be one. I just want to be in the milieu of a race and experience just what my body can do at this time, without comparing myself to others or to me in the past.

With that said, I got to the race on time. I started in the back part of the pack and went out to enjoy what I could of the race. I have been averaging about an hour a day on my EllipiGO, but had only run one 3 mile treadmill workout since my last snowshoe race two weeks earlier. After a short bit of running the race hit a section of single-track and stayed that way until we approached the finish on the return trip. The course also went up and then around and back and forth again through all kinds of winding paths and in between trees. It was a beautiful course, but it was far from easy. I found myself at the back of a pack of about ten racers and stayed that way for over a mile. It was hard going, but I wasn't pushing so hard that I was at my limits. In fact, it was quite enjoyable. The old me kept wanting to sprint off the path and around the other racers, but I knew that would be how I could get into trouble for my fitness. Eventually people in the pack started slowing too much and some racers got ahead and I had to try to pass others. Soon I found myself leading a smaller pack. I did not enjoy this as much as I didn't want to slow anyone down and forced the pace when I could. The race was really a twisty affair and many times things hidden under the snow caused other racers to trip. At one point I tripped over a rock and then let two guys get ahead of me. I could tell my muscles were really tired nearing the end, but my ELliptiGO fitness carried me through. Nearing the finish, there was a pretty steep downhill in the woods and I let two more guys go ahead as I didn't trust my hip in that section. Overall I got a great workout, survived another race (results) on limited run training (the race was 4.1 miles which makes it my longest run since May last year), and learned to just be one of the guys in the pack enjoyed the great outdoors rather than trying to be part of the competitive race. This week I have the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race in Madbury, NH to race (or enjoy). I last did this one in 2010 when I did both Horse Hill and Kingman Farms in the same day. Time to find my headlamp for this evening race.

2009 Horse Hill Farms Snowshoe Race
2010 Horse Hill Farms Snowshoe Race

Level Renner recap of the race up front

Level Renner video of the Horse Hill Snowshoe race:

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