Monday, February 11, 2013

Brrr-lingame Snowy Sufferfest

Sunday, February 10, 2013

4th in series of 5 winter trail races.  Results.

After a blizzard dropped a foot and a half of snow on southern RI Friday through Saturday, and then I struggled to run even 0.5 miles of trails in Champlin Glacier Park Saturday afternoon, color me in the skeptical column that this race would ever transpire.  But add in the doggedness (read "insanity") of RD Mike Galoob, updates on the web and FB, beautiful sunny weather near 30 degrees Sunday, and indeed on the order of 30 runners in various shod devices came together for an afternoon of outdoor fun.

Final Yak-Trax adjustment before start

 WTAC was out there sporting our colors, not quite in the numbers seen for Super 5K, but we still a group of 8 hearty runners shod in anything from running shoes, YakTrax, snowshoes, and even cross country skis!  After two days of heavy snow-shoveling, I saved what little strength I had by not going out for a warm-up and instead just taking a few strides on the hard snow-packed road.
And we're off ...

The siren went off and the odd assembly of racers advanced.  The first 1/4 mile or so was on the hard-packed snow covered road, and my newly re-minted YakTrax helped here.  I passed a few racers and then entered the woods just after Tom and just before Ben.  Only Sandals (today clad in  some flavor of socks!!!) and Bob Jackman (on snowshoes) were ahead of Tom.

BRUTAL was the order of the day, especially the first two miles with the hilly terrain.  Step down into the snow, lift your back foot back out of the snow, repeat over and over again.  Uphills were near a walking pace; downhills gave a slight if ever so short relief.  Tom, Ben, and I stayed together as a group, and we quickly could see no one ahead of or behind us.  Our pace for the first two miles was about 13 minutes!!  Mile 1 shows 10:44 only because partly on roads, and Mile 2 split shows a more honest 12:56.  At more than double the pace from Super 5K, and about double from most of my shorter trail races, that should give you a feel for the brutal effort we were making to run through the snow drifts.

On one of the ridges, Tom fell down into the snow - wish I had a camera for that!  For a split second, I contemplated passing him, but really was appreciating not being stuck out here as an island and was more enjoying the beautiful winter wonderland and camaraderie as opposed to the usual hard fought competition.  Anyway, I appreciated stopping for a moment to catch my own breath as Tom got up.
Finishing up the race

On the last uphill, Jonny Snowshoes caught up to and passed us, and the rest of the course flattened out.  Ben dropped back about this point, and Tom and I finished the rest of the race together.  At some points, I'd actually get into a rhythm, however slowly, but then would suffer when I planted a foot into deeper snow.  Back onto the road, a sign pointed left for snowshoers and right for runners, so we ran the road to the right back, although it turns out people varied in which route they chose regardless of wearing snowshoes or not.
Look at the snow-covered trees behind us!

Cool down with Tom

Final time:  40:07.  Ten seconds behind Tom, and good for second in the "long run course".  Went for a 1.5 mile cooldown with Tom, and came back for awards and hot chocolate.  Went home with a box of Girl Scout cookies, as did Matthew.  Won't help me to lose the 5 pounds I'm trying for, but they'll taste good!  All in all, a very fun and challenging day in deep snow conditions not likely to be repeated anytime soon.
A smaller but hearty Team WTAC comes out today


  1. Brutal indeed. But as pretty as it gets. Nice work out there!

  2. Sorry for any confusion in the signage and directions, I'm sure you would have really enjoyed the death course with the other outlaws had you understood it was an option. Ha! Seriously, great effort as usual. Really fun to have you and your family out there at these races.

  3. "odd assembly of racers" - so appropriate! Won't forget this race.