Slight Delay to Race 2 of Snowshoe Season

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Howdy all. The good news is that this post is about something that happened in 2011! The bad news is that I’m *still* several posts behind, although I vow that I will rectify that :-). Since this race didn’t really have a whole lot of exciting twists and turns, I should be able to fill you all in on the details in relatively short order. As the title of the post suggests, there was a slight delay in this race. While it was scheduled to run on January 8th, mother nature simply didn’t co-operate, so Mike delayed it a full week to January 15th, in the hopes of scoring some more fluffy stuff. Given the conditions of the last race, I don’t think anyone minded waiting for course improvements. To see some pictures that Deanna managed to snap at this race, head over to flickr and check ‘em out. After you’ve seen the pics, read on for the whole sordid tale.

As it turns out, the week delay certainly assisted with the snow conditions, and we got a few little dumps of snow which allowed Mike to set the course and have enough coverage that we would hopefully not need our life jackets when crossing watery areas. Given that the temperature also went quite low, that was not going to be a problem. Once again, due to the uncertainty of the course, Deanna decided that she would once again stay on the sidelines and volunteer to help, as well as snap a few pictures of racers. Good thing too, as otherwise, I likely wouldn’t have a picture to accompany the post.

As is traditionally the case, the 2nd race of the Mad Trapper race series is the ‘hilly’ course. What that essentially means is that you get to cough up your lungs as you bust your tail to run up the hills. Granted, not everyone opts to push so hard, but at the front of the pack, I have no choice but to redline the entire way. Additionally, I had been given jersey #4, and consequently, I stated right off the bat that I would be racing to snag 4th place. Bold words, but I felt relatively good, and figured I could push through the pain.

The overall numbers were relatively small again, with a total of 32 racers taking part in both the 5k and 10k races. In my category, there were 11 racers. Many of the usual suspects, which of course meant there would be no ‘cruising’ today. Frankly, I don’t mind having less competitors though, as it means more brownies, casserole and/or lasagna for me at the finish line :-). Yup, as is always the case, my motivating factor was to finish as fast as I could in order to score some of the sweet post-race meal that Monique and Mike always have on hand.

With faces and core totally covered up, it was time to get the race underway. Mike gave us the final instructions, and the race started in earnest. My face was covered, but very shortly into the race, I had to peel that down, as I was starting to overheat. It’s amazing the kind of energy you ‘burn’ and subsequently expel as heat and sweat, when you are climbing steep hills with small hunks of aluminum framing on your feet! Once again, I was determined to hold on to the front group as long as I could. This race, we were a mere 4 person grouping. Before lap 1 was even over though, I was dropped by the speedy front runners, and had to just focus on my own pace all alone. I tailed #3 for a good bit, but even he started gapping me.

Not to fear though, I knew that I was sitting in 4th place, just as predicted! However, I had no idea how far back the next competitor was from me, and was extremely paranoid that I’d soon hear the thud thud of a racer on my heels. With that in mind, I kept pushing myself, even though my heart rate monitor clearly showed that my heart rate was averaging well over 180bpm! Looking back on the final stats, I averaged 176, and hit a max of 189bpm. Youch! At my age, the theoretical maximum is now supposed to be somewhere around 184. Guess I’m in shape. Either that or I’m headed for disaster. Nah.

Lucky for me, hanging on to my pace and pushing paid off, as I crossed the finish line quite comfortably in 4th overall. I was a bit less than 5 minutes behind 1st place, 3.5 minutes behind 3rd, and a cool 7.5 minutes behind 5th. As you may imagine, that meant I spent a lot of the second loop chasing ghosts and being chased by them. It’s sometimes to keep the focus when you have no reference point. The top 3 guys were still milling about at the line, so it was congratulations all around before retiring to the heat of the Ark for the grub and awards.

After we’d filled our bellies and socialized enough, Deanna and I packed up and headed home. As usual, it was a stellar race, and everyone there had a good time. We didn’t stick around for any additional snowshoeing this time, but instead rested up to head out for a nice ski the next day around Lac Leamy. Deanna is really getting into the swing of winter, and she was looking forward to another round of ‘practicing’ with cross-country skis. It would appear that she may be interested in picking up her own pair shortly too. Exciting times! We’re having a blast so far this winter. I definitely think she’s seeing some of the positive aspects of winter around Ottawa 🙂 And here’s hoping all of you are as well, since there is so much to take advantage of. Speaking of which, there is still a full week of Winterlude left, so get out there if you haven’t!

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