Let's see if I can remember what's happened since the last post. It's a good thing that I have Strava to remind me.
I did actually have a race in December, but it's one that I don't really think much about. It's a novelty race... but at least only in the fact that a Santa suit is worn. It's still a regular race if you disregard the outfits, which are made of felt, by he way. I hear felt is the new technical fabric for running clothes!
The race is called the Santa Pur-Suit and is put on the main running organization in the area, Run Waterloo.
|Photo by Julie Schmidt|
We went out for dinner somewhere.... (I can't be expected to remember THAT much about that day... although now that I said that, I think we went to B. Hmm... I will consult Untappd to find out.... Yep.. we did!), then back to my house.
Saturday morning, we headed to the race, which starts and finishes at the YMCA in Waterloo. It has nice spacious indoor facilities where people can stay warm if it's a cold day. I don't believe it was overly cold that morning, but it had snowed the night before, just as it had each and every year of this race.
I ran started a warm-up solo, then joined some of my Health & Performance (H+P) teammates on theirs. The not-so-cold temperatures made some of the snow turn into slush, which wasn't fun, but hey.. everyone was going to be dealing with the same crap on the roads.
We headed back to the start area and got ready to race. My only real goal for this race was to run it quicker than I had in the past, and hopefully finally be under 22 minutes. I was not hoping for anything close to a real 5K PR, just a Santa Suit PR.
My past times in this race:
2012 - 24:21
2013 - 22:36
2014 - 22:15
2015 - 22:08
The race itself was fairly uneventful... some slippery and slushy spots, but overall, the course was in pretty decent shape. I finished in 21:56. Finally, I've run sub-22 in a Santa Suit. I finished 7th female, and my team, comprised of one guy and a bunch of women, won the team competition.
|H+P Dashers minus Larry (L-R: Erin, Emily, myself, Anne) - photo taken at our club Christmas party|
I didn't have a single race in January, it was a month of training. I can't think of anything worth mentioning from that month... on to February!
The return to racing happened in February, with interesting conditions. As I'm sure a lot of people had this year, February was warm this year. It was much warmer than usual, and there was no snow for the bulk of the month. This sounds like it would be a good thing for running, and it was for the most part... I got in great training runs with solid footing, but, I had registered for a snowshoe race. I was starting to think that it was going to turn into a trail race, but there was snow the week before the race and it was announced that the conditions were good for snowshoes on the course.
Race #1 - Snowshoes on little snow
The morning of February 4th, I drove to Shades Mills Conservation Area for the inaugural Dion Winter Goose Chase, which was also my very first snowshoe race.
I arrived nice and early, picked up my number, chatted with a few other runners, and then headed out to do a warm-up on the course in my trail shoes. The course was supposed to be a 3 km loop, run twice, so I figured I would just run it once as well as the little bit from and back to the building for around a 4 km warm-up. I ran around a bit and found the start, went through, and started following the flags. After a while, I start to wonder why I don't feel like I'm heading back toward the start/finish area. I looked at my watch and saw that I had already been running more than 2 miles... and I have no idea where I am. I was still following the flags, so I was clearly on the course, but I had run a distance of more than a full loop... and couldn't see anything that I recognized. I looked around a bit, trying to figure out a way to take a shortcut back, but nothing looked familiar. I started running again and calling out "Hello?" hoping that marshals were out on the course and could direct me back. Time was passing and it was getting closer and closer to start time. I needed to get back to the building, take off a layer and get my snowshoes! I was stressing for a moment, but then just found it funny that I managed to get myself lost. I was only planning on running this race for fun anyway, no goals, just a first attempt at running hard in snowshoes. If I missed the start... I missed the start... not the end of the world.
I finally found my way out and got myself to the building with only 7 or 8 minutes until race start. Got myself to the start and got my SS on just in time, while they were making announcements. Turns out the course had been changed and was now a single 4 mile loop. No wonder I was confused on my warm-up!
I lined up, and the girl beside me took off with the gun, but slowed a little after a km or so. I passed her and she stuck on my heels, until she passed me back around 1.5 miles (yes, I realize I keep switching between km and miles... that's just how I roll). I didn't react to her passing me. I just didn't have my head in race mode and just kept plugging away and let her go. Unfortunately, this put me in no man's land. I ended up slowing down a bit and then had to remind myself that even though I wasn't that into it.. I was still in a race and needed to at least run somewhat hard! So... I picked it up and could see people through some of the trees ahead, so I had some sort of target, something to focus on to get myself to pick up the pace and try to close the gap at least a bit. I was gaining on the girl a bit, but then a hill showed up.. one that I somehow managed to miss on the warm-up, so I had no idea it was there! I was not expecting this large climb just before the end of the race. I did not handle that climb well... so there was no further closing of any gap. I got myself to the top, ran down as quick as I could and finished the race 56 seconds back from her. Not close at all. But... still 2nd female (8th overall) in my first snowshoe race, so all in all, not a bad day.
Just before the unknown-to-me hill. Photo from Spafford Health and Adventure.
Race results and recap can be found here.
Race #2 - Trail shoes on snowy and slushy roads
On Sunday, February 12th, I woke up and looked out the window.... what the crap? Snow... and lots of it. It was completely clear out there the night before. In fact, it was really warm the day before! This was less than ideal.... but it's February... what can you really expect?
I arrived at RIM Park with lots of time to spare before the start of the Re-Fridgee-Eighter, the first Run Waterloo event of the year. I met up with teammates and the conditions were on everyone's minds... what shoes to wear? I brought three different pairs because I wanted to see what the roads were like around that part of town. As I drove in, they were just starting to plow, but first round plowing doesn't generally get down to the pavement, so it was iffy.. plus, that was the main road.. what would the smaller roads be like? The answer, as it turns out, would be very very snowy.
I ended up putting on trail shoes, went out for a warm-up with Val and decided that the trail shoes would stay on for the race. A road race in trail shoes..... didn't seem right.... but in the end, I was very glad I made this choice.
In the race itself, I don't think there was a single section of clear road. It was either a thin layer of slush and snow, thick slush, or thick snow. During the race, it snowed, and there was also some freezing rain. I guess it is supposed to be a winter race.... .and it certainly was!
I ran most of the race around what I considered to be half marathon pace, and that's because I couldn't go any faster in those conditions. I felt like I ran it well, that I raced well. I ran the 8 mile distance in 58:22, which I would not have been happy with on clear roads, but in this... I was quite happy with it, especially when compared to last year, when this race was the first indication that there was something wrong with me. It took 2 more races last year before I knew I was anemic, but this was the first race that felt crappy. OK... back to this year. I placed 6th for females.
|The best footing on the course. Photo by Julie Schmidt.|
I think that's a good place to end this post. I'll write about last weekend's race in a separate post.