Friday, November 04, 2005

Snowshoe Racing

Friday, November 4, 2005
I think it is about time to quit procrastinating and begin getting in shape for the upcoming snowshoe race season. This will be my third season. Two years ago when I started, I was already in good shape and I had a very good season. Last winter, I was not in nearly as good shape and my results reflected it. This year, I am in the worst shape of all three years so it is with great pain that I must admit: I had better start training with some goals in mind or I should just cancel season three!

How did I get into this? How else….I read about it on the internet. I was just looking around, surfing the net and found a link to a site that had photos and race results for a snowshoe race up in Vail. It just sounded so crazy that I thought it might just be fun. I am lucky to live in the Denver area and have many races to choose from over the course of each winter. The first race that I entered was the Screamin’ Snowman Race, held each year at the Lake Eldora Ski Area outside of Nederland, Colorado. Typically, at these races you can choose to run in a 5K or a 10K. The real competitive athletes run the 10K race and the rest of us run in the 5K. There is a wide variation of competitive levels in the 5K from people who walk the whole distance to those who run the entire distance. I compete somewhere in the middle but my strategy has allowed me to place in the top three positions in my age class in most of the races I enter! My strategy is to be in good enough shape to walk or jog the uphill sections with a minimum of a fast-paced energetic walk to a flat-out (get out of my way) run on the down hill sections. So when I am training and it involves running downhill, this is not just an excuse to look like I am an athlete in training – I actually am! Really. It is not as easy as it looks to flat-out run downhill. If you have done much DH skiing, you know what I am talking about – some of those race course slopes are VERY steep. It can be quite a challenge not to fall and injure oneself when running in snowshoes. Try it sometime!

Why did I get into this and why do I continue? It looked like fun! I discovered a competitive spirit inside of myself, much to my surprise. I am basically competing with myself – trying to get and stay in shape and push the envelope during the race. It is easy to give in to fatigue, pain, and laziness! So snowshoe racing is both a physical and mental challenge. I get some small but deep-seated pride from being in good enough shape (at my age and coming from my personal history of having been VERY out of shape) and going to the effort, and actually placing in my age class. I don’t have my head stuck in the sand either – I am well aware that there flat out just isn’t a lot of competition in the 5K races in my gender and age class. But hey, I get credit for discovering a sport before the huge masses of humanity take over and every babe in-great-shape hits the slopes to smoke my substantial ass!


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