Well I hope this post finds everyone doing well and enjoying the not-so wintry winter that we’ve been having this year. Ironically, the states that are more southern than NY have been getting blasted with snow rather than the usual lake effect off of Lake Ontario. Because of this warming trend, the infamous Cast-a-shadow 6 hour snowshoe relay on January 30th was ended up being a treacherous trail race instead of the normal snowshoe soirée. 2010 brought a new location as well and moved the race to the west side of town at the Greece Canal Park instead of Mendon Ponds. This particular Saturday it was BITINGLY cold in Greece and when the sun went down, the temps plummeted. On a warmer note though, I started a new job over at The Employment Store on Monday of the week of the race and I was laid up on Wednesday that particular week with the stomach flu/virus that’s been going around. I felt terrible that I had to call in sick on only my 3rd day of work, but I couldn’t make it out of bed without losing the contents of my stomach for like the 4 billionth time. So for the race I was unfortunately approximately ten pounds lighter than normal given the sickness. (I do not recommend this as a way to lose weight, it was completely awful….) And as fair warning to my teammates, I told them I didn’t know what to expect come race day. But being this, a race that I had bailed on last year (only after securing a replacement runner) and catching hell for it ever since, I knew I couldn’t miss the fun that awaited.
2pm is the start time for this race and that makes it unique because, being that it is a 6 hour relay and the sun sets around 5pm, you run about half of it in the dark with headlamps on. Gun went off at 2pm and spirits were high as they normally are. People were racing hard, the ultra runners slogged off to a start and folks were hanging in the lodge waiting on their turn to run. I felt okay thru about 4 loops and that was when the sun went down. My teammates Jason and Tim were racing hard and I was starting to feel the effects of the inevitable lactic acid building up in my legs. Loop 5 was good and the start of the mandatory headlamp requirement.
The course was starting to get REALLY chewed up and sloppy. As I said before it was not a snowshoe race, but a trail race that froze over as the darkness waned. Lap 6 for me was my breaking point. I threw up in my mouth in the first quarter mile (almost before I got to the woods) and added about 5 minutes on to my average lap time. My teammates were wondering where I was when it was dark and I hadn’t shown up to the exchange point yet. I made it back and realized I hadn’t changed any clothes yet, even though I had brought several changes. I got into a new dry pair of shoes, hit some new clean and dry base layers and shirts and bundled up for my last lap. Time was running out and we were SOLIDLY in 2nd place overall, so we just had to hold on.
My last lap was my prideful retribution for having a lap that was 21+ minutes (when I got sick). I powered thru and was SO glad to be finished. Our overall time and result was good for 2nd overall male team and we won some Mountain Hardware beanies and had some great home cooked food at the awards ceremony. (Along with a few slices of pizza!)
This race really kicks the crap out of you for about 4-5 days afterwards. Most of the folks that I spoke with had the “smokers cough” for several days and had extremely tight hamstrings as well. I was hobbling and couldn’t really run for the following 2-3 days after this one. This is a fun endeavor and weird to race pretty much your 5k race pace for 2 hours or so with 40 minutes in between each jaunt. It really rips up your legs. So other than that, it’s been status quo of getting out there and getting the miles in for prep for these half ironmans and half marathons this year. I did sign up for the Chicago Marathon and it looks like there will be several folks there this year as a crew in Chi-town. I’ve registered for about all the races that I’m planning on this year (minus a few local triathlons) and am stoked to get out there in the sunshine once the season hits. But for now the focus is Snowshoe Nationals on 3/6/10 in Syracuse, NY to get some national level competition at the hardest sport around. See you on the roads and trails friends. Cheers.