Snowshoe Nationals and a Training and Fundraising Update

Snowshoe National Championship
Location: Woodford, VT
Date: 3/11/2018 (Amy's Birthday)
Distance: Half Marathon (Really 11.2)
Goal: Survival
Actual: 7th OA, 1st AG

Before the race
This past Sunday, I took on the half marathon at that Snowshoe National Championship in Woodford, VT.  This is the second time I have competed in a National Championship (The previous was the Duathlon Nationals back in April 2009 before this blog even existed).  Woodford got over three feet of snow in the week before the race, so I had no idea what to expect.  With the deep snow, the course could be nearly impossible. 

Amy and I headed up to VT late Friday afternoon for a kid-less weekend where we crashed with our friends Scott and Julie (Thank you again for hosting us).  Saturday morning we headed over to Prospect Mountain, the site of the race, to watch the Men's and Women's 10K races (top 5 in each race automatically get membership on the National Team).  As we watched them descend a switch back in the deep snow they looked tired.  I was a little worried about what I may have gotten myself into.  A little bit later we watched the top finishers come through the finish and they looked strong. 

The sprint to the finish
Snowshoe running is an interesting sport.  I think the best thing you can compare it to is really technical mountain running.  You have to find your line and your effort level is significantly higher then running normally.  In the runs I have done in the past, my pace has been anywhere from 2-4 minutes per mile slower for a given effort level. 

As luck would have it, the clocks changed the day of the race.  After a 6:45 wake up (which felt like 5:45) and a quick breakfast we headed back to Prospect Mountain. Our friends Greg and Lauren joined us.  Greg was taking on the marathon distanced while Lauren was running the half.

Luckily the race director was kind and made the race a 5k loop instead of the originally planned 7k which had much more vertical gain. Each loop had just under 400' of climbing with the majority of it in the first mile.

As the race started, I picked a spot in the middle of the pack not quite sure what to expect.  As we entered the first climb, I passed a few people.  On the second climb I passed some more.  While my heart rate (HR) was pretty high, I felt good.  After the first mile the course flattened out and I found a pretty good rhythm.  As I completed the first loop, I was in 7th place and still felling solid. 

During the 2nd loop I was able to catch the guy in front of me, but was also passed by the guy behind me.  At the half way point I was averaging 10:10 per mile and had set a new goal; run the entire race without walking.  While this may not seem like an intense goal, each climb got significantly harder and harder as the race went on and it took my HR longer and longer to settle. 

As I entered the last big climb on the final loop I knew I could hold to the plan.  As I fought through, my HR peaked at 192, but I was able to settle it once I crested.  I picked up the pace for the remaining two miles and sprinted through the finish. 

-- 11.2 miles -- 1:54:21 -- 10:11 per mile -- 7th OA -- 1st AG --

Lauren telling Greg he can't catch her
Having only run on snowshoes a hand full of times and only raced on them twice before, I was very happy with my performance.  Even more this was affirmation of my training.  Looking forward to trying another one of these sometime. 

Huge shout out to Greg and Lauren who each took 3rd overall in their respective races.  

Training Update
Five weeks ago I started my training plan for Transvulcania.  Transvulcania is a 45 mile race with over 14,000' of climbing and descent.  I knew I had my work cut out for me, so I derived a training plan that was primarily vert based. 

Over the first phase of the plan (A phase is three weeks followed by a recovery week), I was able to get in 20,000' of climbing.  It started with lunch hill repeats, my group runs - Scot's Hills of Pain, and literally anywhere I could get just a bit more of vert in. 

By the third week (in the first two weeks I did an out and back of Blue Hill's Skyline as well as a lap and a half of Fell's Skyline) I was exhausted just trying to find hills to run, so I broke my cardinal rule and jumped on the treadmill.  While I still hate the treadmill, man you can rack up the vert quickly.  In two runs I have climbed 2900' over just 6.5 miles. 

I am currently in the midst of a 8000' week with plans to get to 10,000' in the third week of this phase.  I'll either get there or die trying :). 

Fundraising Update
My fundraising for the year is also starting to pick up speed.  I am happy to see my new employer, Salesforce, first corporate match of the year already being dispersed.  Special thanks to Mehdi, Ben, and Emma being the first to contribute to this years fundraising campaign.  We have already raised $912 and we have barely begun.

Next up is our 2nd Annual Comedy Night to Beat NF scheduled for April 20th. 

Amy and I have also just put in an order for NF running hats with the help of John Ryan at Impress Graphics.  We will be selling them as a fundraiser, $20 each or 3 for $50. Message me if you are interested. 

What's Next
I take on my first ultra of 2018 and first timed event ever next week at the Hale and Back 6 hour.  While timed events are not really my thing, this is a perfect excuse to get our for a 6 hour run, even if it is trudging through mud and snow.

Until next time,


Greg, Lauren, and I after the race