Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Soft Snow Everywhere I Look

Well, I've also seen some slush, ice and a little pavement, too.

My final run of 2009 was a bit of an adventure. I wanted to get in about an hour, and usually the loop on the Cathance Preserve trails fit the bill. Well, I ran for an hour...and then some. The trails were covered in a couple inches of fresh snow. Looked nice, but it was just enough to hide a lot of ice...a whole lot. I never knew if I was going to step on something nice and crunchy or wicked slippery. Ended up being about 50/50. On top of that, the trail along the river was tricky because the river had risen quite a bit and frozen, obscuring the trail. I thought at one point, I was going to fall in. Good times. Then it got dark. At one point, I deviated from my normal route thinking the trail would be too tricky. Instead, I ran down a snow-covered road. Under the aforementioned blanket of snow was the slipperiest ice on earth. For about 10 steps in a row, I made the cartoon "woop woop woop' sound. Somehow, I stayed upright. D had that I'm glad you're alive, but I'm going to kill you thing going when I got home.

What was most surprising was that my hamstring was no worse for wear following this run, and it actually felt pretty OK during my short run on New Year's the snow.

Unfortunately, the snow thwarted my plans to open my racing season on Sunday. I had planned to run the Beaver Brook 5k Snowshoe Race, but I wasn't too thrilled about turning 4 hours of driving into 8 hours due to the "Blizzard of the Century." Ian was going to race with me, but he had the same idea I did. Part of me is pretty bummed out, but I also thought I felt a twinge of a cold coming on, so I stayed inside all day. So much for my streak of running every day in 2010.

Sunday afternoon, we packed up the Little Lady and met a crew of Trail Monsters at Pineland. D took the first shift watching the Little Lady, while I spent the hour with Jamie and Jim giving Jamie a bit of a skate lesson. Jamie made great progress for a newbie, and we had a blast tooling around. I took a baby shift, while D skied, but D was nice enough to let me get a ski on my own. I cruised through the River Loop somewhat quickly, and it felt good to be on skis for the first time this winter. It snowed off and on most the time we were there, which just added to the coolness.

I was a bit sore on Monday, but not nearly as bad as I had anticipated. I snuck in a quick...well, it was supposed to I figured that the snowmobiles would have packed the powerlines and that there would have been traffic on the section of trail that makes up the Suck Loop. I was mostly wrong on both counts. The snowmobiles had been out but not many. The snow was soft, and I sunk to my ankles with just about every step. The trail section was even worse. Needless to say, my quick three mile run took about five minutes longer than it normally would. My training log as has the notation "sickish," perhaps this was just wishful thinking.

When I woke up on Tuesday, I felt better than I thought I would...sort of. My nose was completely plugged all night, which apparently made me a treat to sleep next to. By morning, it had decided to drain out the front, and I probably blew my nose 249 times that day. Oddly enough, though, I felt fine...just drippy. So, I decided it would be a good idea to go ahead and jump into the first week of Nordic Meisters. Luckily for me, a decision was made to add a snowshoe division this year. Perfect timing for me, and I hate ski racing anyway. The loop is basically three parts: rolling 1k, uphill 1k, then 1k of fun, aka, mostly downhill. I warmed up on the first 1k and realized it was going to be sloooooow. Only a handful of people had been out on the loop, and the snow was really soft. Plus, the trail is a less than level bit of singletrack, so falling off in either direction was a common occurrence. My plan was to not go all out, but rather use this as a tempo run, which is exactly I tried to do. However, it was tough to do that in the middle without walking. I only walked a few steps, but the combination of the steep hills and soft snow made it slow going. After about three weeks, I reached the top and was ready to open it up. I'm starting to learn that opening up on snowshoes isn't really a possibility, especially not on these trails: they're too twisty and too narrow. Oh, and the inconsistency of the snow just added to the mix. One moment you're cruising, the next minute you've sunk about 40 leagues beneath the surface. I have to admit, I was pretty happy to hit the groomed section that makes ups the first and last 150 meters. The course is between 3 and 3.5k, and my time was 25:09. Yeah, it's that hard.

As I type this, my training log for today reads, "Off, Sick." My nose continued to leak all day, and I, generally, feel like boo boo. Well, from the neck up anyway. I was really wishing we had a treadmill today, so I could have put in an easy couple miles to get yesterday's effort out of my legs. I didn't think running outsides was the best idea. I'm heavily medicated, so, hopefully, I'll kick this thing in a day or so.


Laurel said...

Didn't know they added a snowshoe division at nordicmeister. Might be worth the drive!

sn0m8n said...

Since we're hosting the Granite State Snowshoe Champs this year, it seemed like a natural addition. Seven weeks left, and it would be great to see you at at least once race. Of course, 6 qualifies you for the mega-huge prize raffle. :) Field is small right now, and not particularly competitive, but I'm hoping it will catch on and grow.

You should come over and show me how it's done! Be great to actually meet you, too. :)