I knew this was gonna be no good snow. We had not had much snow this Winter and I was a bit reluctant to run this race this year, but since my buddy Adam was in for it and I was looking forward to doing better this year I mustered up will and went for it.
I started up front and after John said “go!” I took off. One dude ran in front of me and kicked up wet snow in my face, so I passed him. And ran on. It was quickly apparent that indeed the snow was soft, wet and mushy. The first lap was not too terrible but as the day warmed up and more tracks went across it got worse. Think running in sand. Double your effort, double your fun. Somewhere up on the first 10k loop I passed a couple of girls doing the 50k (craziness). They saw me and thought I was a 50k lapping them. I informed them that I was the first of the 25ks and then they disliked me less.
Running down was actually rather fun as it took a sort of sliding technique. I tried to land on the ends of my snowshoes and slide a bit into a full foot landing. On the way up the 5k loop I passed a couple marathoners and felt really good, knowing that I was close to hitting my peak goals, despite the rough conditions. As I began to descend the 5k loop I felt some tightness and cramping in my calves from the hike up but it subsided as I got back down. I again enjoyed the fast and sloppy downhill and almost tripped twice but luckily I stayed up.
Final 10k lap and I had no idea how far ahead of the 2nd place I was but felt good, ate some salty potatoes, swigged a bit of Red Bull and kept pushing along. This last uphill loop always puts the dagger in my heart, but I was determined to keep running this time. And thus I did. A few of the more steep sections I power hiked through but as I reached the peak and started down I felt a surge of the victory, how sweet it was. Last year I came in 2nd place (2:59) after a leap-frogging battle during the first 18k. But in the end I ran out of steam. Three years ago it was all about actually finishing. So when I won this years race coming in at 2:57, somewhere around 10-15 minutes ahead of 2nd place, I felt the pride of a race well run. And a personal best accomplished, plus I got some good swag!
Good times were had by all, Adam came in 4th – nice job brotha’! After the race I chatted with DJ who took 2nd. He is training for a 200 miler! Dangnation! I ate some good ‘ol Tomato Bisque and crackers provided and enjoyed the cozy fire as I waited for Adam. We’ll see what next year brings (if any snow at all).