Sunday, January 19, 2014

I'm "baaaaa-aaaack" , or the 2014 Mount Washington Yeti Snowshoe Race!

The title of the blog is borrowed from a dear friend of mine, Steph, who wrote that on my facebook wall after I talked about completing this race.  It struck a chord with me, it made me remember - oh yeah...I was that girl who did something pretty great in a race a while back.  Waaaay back, it feels like.

I've been pretty enamoured with my life lately, and very proud & focused on growing a baby, having a baby, and loving our new life with this baby.  So racing seems like a long time ago - although yes, if you do recall, I raced in the Subaru Vancouver Sprint Triathlon in July and had a blast, but I was honestly on cruise control with no thoughts of really 'pushing' anything.  I was 34 weeks pregnant after all!

Flash forward to me running up a very long hill.  In snowshoes, all alone, breathing very hard & wondering when I was going to fall over.

Flash backward to me thinking entering a snowshoe race in the 'enduro' category after only stringing one week of regular training (doing something every day for at least 45 min) 5 months after having a baby.  Months 2-5 generally consisted of me maybe doing 2 30-60 min runs a week, and in the last couple of months trying to throw in a core workout a week. (For the record, month one was learning to walk a straight line again and not get winded in the grocery store).

Flash forward again to me walking up a hill.  Gasp!

Flash backward to me showing up to the race realizing I didn't bring a watch.  When in my life have I shown up to race without a watch.  Oh right, "never-ever-in-my-life".

Flash forward (you are catching on?) to me realizing I really just don't have that 'push on all accounts' urge to flatten myself on this course.  It's a funny feeling.  Something I think I've taken for granted.  It's not there right now.

Backward: "Oh my goodness, I've never run a trail race before.  Or a snowshoe race - FUN!"

So I lined up with a posse of other sunshine & snow loving eager snowshoe racers at the Yeti Snowshoe Series race #1 at Mount Washington Alpine Resort.   A crazy white Yeti was there to wish us luck - and off we went!

Talk about a beautiful day when your race starts off like this:

And your race course looks like this:

So I'll describe the course in one word: HILLS! I have not run up and down so many hills in a long time.  In fact I think I ran more hills in the Yeti race than I did in the entirety of 2013 (not kidding, not even a little bit).  So lap one was a little tough to take, realizing that if you don't train on hills (or don't train at all, I realize now...) that running up hills is one tough venture!  But by lap two, I was starting to enjoy the struggle.  I also decided that on one particular hill, where I saw almost every woman ahead of me walking up, that I would walk up too (usually this is sacrilege).  But I was by myself, and having fun, and thinking to myself, "why not?".  And I survived.  Both the hill & the ego check.

And how can you not enjoy yourself with fans out on course like this?

After this, it was another kilometre or so to the finish, but I tell you, it feels a lot longer on snowshoes than it does on the road.  There must be a lot of technique to the art of not-super sloppy fitness slogging on snowshoes (my style).  Maybe one day I'll learn it too, because this race was really fun and I definitely want to do another.

And being able to zoom around in the chariot makes both husband and baby quite happy.  Look, Dad & Matthias got some freshies!

So, maybe there's something to this trail running thing after all.  I'm quite far out of 'competitive' mode at the moment, so doing new things and tackling new challenges where you have no stick to compare yourself against is pretty awesome.  All you have to do is go out, have fun, and work hard.  Sounds about exactly right for me right now.  I also must add - much easier on the old lady hips & knees I'm feeling right now getting back into running after having a baby.  My muscles could feel it the next day but no pain at all in any joints - which is kind of important when you do 100 deadlifts with a 17lb+ baby daily.

And when it's all said and done, I get this little man to give me a squeeze - how can it get any better than that?  Actually I get a squeeze from the bigger man as well, so it does get better! And if you're racing solo, I saw the Yeti giving out quite a few squeezes as well - what a nice big white fluffy creature!  The Yeti also provided us with a table of treats after - most coveted by me of course was the chocolate milk!  It's been a long time since I did a race and remembered how good chocolate milk tastes after! So, Powered By Chocolate Milk, as the title of the blog suggests - I'm "baaaa-aaaack". Tell the cows Imma-coming!  All said and done, I finished in 4th place, and in 1 hour and 1 or 2 minutes, for a 10km snowshoe - which I was more than happy with, especially considering I haven't been cracking 50 min for a 10km on the road - so encouraging!

A huge thanks to the great people at the Yeti Snowshoe Series & 5 Peaks Adventures Trail Racing Series for letting me be a part of this race.  I had a blast!  I will do it again! And scarily enough, you might have converted a roadie into a trail runner (at least for a while).  The lure of the marathon still pulls quite strongly, as does the pavement we run on in that little race called Ironman, but for now, as a new mama taking her first new steps back on the racing circuit, this was a perfect event!

And I must say, running up here on the snow in snowshoes is really going to make running on the road feel quite easy breezy.  Can't wait!  But for now, we're mountain people for the winter.  So do your little snow dance please and get us some new stuff so our baby can rip some more freshsies!

Enjoy the start of your new year, and get out there and have fun!

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