Racing, Squalling, Toe Whispering

I started trail running when someone told me I couldn’t. I was invited to try something new, and (still surprising to me) I said yes. It was the beginning of a lot things that surprise me, and the beginning of my “verb living”.

I like runners. I like races. Running fills my head, doesn’t allow me to think a thousand other things, and lets me be outside.

I run trails and organize road races. That’s how I separate it.

Snowshoe races are a different animal. I’d say I run in snowshoe races. I don’t race on snowshoes.

I want to race on snowshoes. I want to race on trails. 2013 could be the year of racing. At least 9 races on my calendar. 6 at Bradbury, 1 half marathon on trails, a fun 10 miler across the golden gate bridge, and a RRCA conference race. wow.

Which leads me to race 1, the bradbury squall.

I invited my mom up for the weekend,and she enthusiastically said yes, she’d love to see me race, she’d love to see this Bradbury place I talk about a lot.

Saturday I pulled out the snowshoes, put them on and tromped around for a bit. Reminding myself of the feel. My plans to go for a few snowshoes have been reprioritzed to sleep late, deal with a busted knee, and eat big brunches. The last time I was on snowshoes was the Blizzard last year.

Sunday morning, mom in tow, I headed to Bradbury. It was warmer than expected, and I had some morning clothing adjustments. Great to see everyone, catch up with a few monsters I hadn’t seen since before Christmas, and the trail dawgs, Wendy and Jodi. Wendy and I go back and forth in races, and she’s such a steady mover, I’m always glad to have her in the vicinity! I think I introduced everyone to my mother twice, even if she had met them before.

All of a sudden, Ryan was being funny in the pre race meeting, and I was the only one without snow shoes on! I hustled to get them on, joined my peeps in the mostly back (not the way back!) and hugged Ann (Alexion) for good luck. And we’re off –go go go. So much better than last year, I didn’t trip anyone (sorry Linda!) and I didn’t fall at the start. I knew I could finish, I knew I could snowshoe, and I knew where I needed to position myself before the single track. I was nervous, but more “pre race nervous” than “WTF was I thinking nervous”.

Snowshoes were a bit finicky, and I had to step off the trail to adjust, and watch Mrs. Anderson crossfit her way ahead of me. I pushed on, with someone right on my heels. I told them I’d move, and they were happy letting me lead. I wasn’t, but she didn’t seem to understand that, so I kept in my head, and tried to go my own race pace. My GPS was still asking me if I was inside.

Things were going swimmingly. And then I fell off a bridge. I don’t know which bridge. I was shocked. The woman behind me was shocked. I rolled a bit in the snow, got up, dusted myself off, shook it out, tried to get her to go ahead (again “no”) and got back to it.

A while later the follower leaves, and I see the Jedi. He says “Less than a mile, you’re looking good”. I perked up. My GPS finally figured out where we were, and I looked to see it at .25. I neglected to look at the course map, so with renewed vigor, and the promise of less than a mile left, I sped up a bit. “leave it on the trail”. I could handle the pain of my snowshoe buckle crammed into my toe for a mile. I could do anything for a mile. So I went! And on I went. and on the course went. I recognized the snowmobile trail. I remembered “less than a mile left”.

I remembered that in most of the TMR races, the snowmobile trail ended with a bit of knights woods, or the link trail and then it was over. I pushed more. I was going to do awesome! But then my garmin beeped that a mile had passed, since Jedi said “less than a mile” and then the trail turned – not onto knights woods or link, but onto something else. Something leading the direction that wasn’t the finish (or could have been, my sense of direction is award winning). My toe protested. My snowshoes didn’t care.

I huffed and puffed. I ate some snow, I gingerly went over the exposed roots. I thought a few bad things about the Lying Liar that was Jedi, and I kept pushing. I stopped for a second to see if the toe situation could be quickly remedied. It couldn’t. I convinced myself it was fine. I sped up. My toe protested. I told my toe that I was a snow shoeing trail monster, and they don’t listen to toes. Toes listened to them. I figured most of the people were probably done by this time, and laughed at myself, talking to my toe in the middle of the woods, when I was supposed to be racing.

And then I ran into another racer. I was on the right course! There was .25 left. I was going to pass him. I passed him! I rallied. I went fast towards the finish. I wiped my nose for finish line pictures, someone recognized me. People cheered!  I finished! Scout and Squirrel marked my time, a crutchless Mary tore my bib! I focused on not falling in front of everyone. 

YAY

11 minutes faster than last year is great, except the course was completely different, so I don’t think it counts as a PR.

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One thought on “Racing, Squalling, Toe Whispering

  1. Ann says:

    I love this race report!! This is your year! Why you ask- because you are happy! Happy is as happy does! I think Stone Cat has your name on it!

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