Saturday, February 14, 2009

Antelope Island Run in the Snow

Today was a great day for a run. it was snowing fairly hard, the roads were a mess and I had a training run scheduled as part of the Buffalo Run. It seems as though every February training run the weather is a factor and usually not good. Instead of running trails, we usually end up on the roads because ther's too much snow on the ground. Today was no exception, with about 6-8" of untracked snow covering the trails. Not only that, but the roads hadn't been plowed yet. Only one car had traveled down the road and we ended up running in those tracks.
Even though the snow was coming down pretty good, there wasn't much wind, just a very light breeze, and the temperature was about 28.

Regardless of the weather, we do the training runs, so I knew that at least a few intrepid souls would show and I wasn't disappointed. All told there were seven of us that showed up to run. Several elected to go the full 22 miles and the rest of us decided to turn around after seven miles and call it good with 14.

One of the ones who showed was my friend Meghan. We always have a good time running together and today was no exception. We also had another runner with us out training for her first ultra. We were getting quizzed about what to eat, how to train, what's it like etc. It's fun to hear people who haven't done an ultra talk about their worries and then try to reassure them that "yes" they can do it and "yes" they will enjoy it.
14 miles ended up being about the right amount for the three of us, especially me. By the time we had covered about 12 miles, my feet were wet and starting to get cold.....and I don't like cold feet.
It snowed on us during the entire run but had quit by the time we got back to the truck.
As it usually happens, once we finished the weather had changed and the sun came out. Another beautiful finish to a great run.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kahtoola Bigfoot SnowshoeFestival January 31, 2009

Ok, let me preface this race report with the fact that I really dislike running in cold weather and I don’t like running on snow and ice either. I define cold as anything less than 30 degrees, and even that’s not much to my liking. So what did I do? Sign up for a 50K snowshoe race out in Midway, UT. I have no brains. I’d like to also mention that I had never been on snowshoes in my life until about 4pm Friday afternoon in my backyard. A couple of trips across the yard with them on and I was good to go… I thought.
John Bozung of Squaw Peak 50 mile fame puts this race on and Kahtoola is the main sponsor. They make a series of snowshoes that are really nice. They also had a bunch available to use for those of us without them.
The race took place at Wasatch Mountain State Park on the golf course and up in the surrounding hills. The 50K race I entered involved a 10K loop on the golf course followed by a 5K loop up the mountainside followed by another 10K loop on the golf course, then rinse and repeat. We had wear snowshoes for the first 10K and 5K loops and then we could take them off if we wanted.
We started at 8am as the sun was just coming up. My car told me that the temp. was a very cold 7 degrees. Did I mention that I dislike running in cold weather? I knew that once the sun was up the temps would warm up. I was also wearing black to help absorb some warmth. I also knew that I would be throwing off some serious heat once the race started.
We all took off on the 10K loop in the fog and early morning sun. The golf course has a series of groomed trails for snowshoers, x-country skiers and anyone else who wants to go out, so we had a really nice packed trail 10 feet wide to follow. I managed to go around the 10K loop the first time in about 1:20. A lot slower than my normal 10K time, but I figured that would be the case. After I left the start/finish area I headed over for the 5K single track up the mountainside. The 5K loop has the same vertical as the 10K loop, but in half the distance, so the climbs are much steeper. Couple that with the fact that it was single track and you have a recipe for faceplants. I managed two during this loop by stepping on my snowshoes. It was a tough climb up the hillside followed by a great run back down. I think I did the 5K loop in about 40 minutes, but I’m not sure, also much slower than my normal 5K time (duh).
After a couple minutes at the start/finish I went back out on the 10K loop. I did about half of this with my snowshoes still on my feet then decided that was enough and took them off. I found I could run much easier but not necessarily faster. I ended up completing that loop in about 1:40. It was while on this loop that I decided to drop down to the 25K. My feet were absolutely soaked and frozen and I did have some concern about frostbite. Not only that, but I was rapidly developing a painful blister on my heel from the snowshoe strap. I should have placed it lower on my shoe. Oh well.
So after about 3:55, I finished the 25K. Good enough for 3rd place (I think, results aren’t up yet) out of six runners.
I did have a pretty good time in spite of the cold and snow. John puts on a pretty good race. Very low key. The course was challenging, the scenery beautiful. Lots of good homemade chili and soup at the finish. Would I do it again? I might, but I won’t sign up for the 50K. That’s just too much time outside with cold, wet, frozen feet.