Without the snowshoes, ha ha.
Ahh, first race of the year is DONE! Woo hoo!
Oh my gosh that picture makes me laugh!
I like starting my year off with a January race… because I like the idea of doing one race a month! I’ve only achieved that once – in 2011. Maybe I will again this year?
Anyone else aiming for the one race a month this year? (or maybe that is waaaay too easy for ya!)
This is actually the only race I’ve ever done in January (in 2011 and 2014)! And I plan to keep doing it in the future, if I am in town (although I may wait to sign up only if there is enough snow to snowshoe).
I first signed up for this race because the concept of running in snowshoes blew my mind so hard I had to try it out. And… I found out it’s super challenging. Really, the most intense kind of racing I’ve ever done. I love the way it pushes me, so I have been back for more. And bonus, the group, Smart Farm, that puts on this race is hella cool – they run an “educational” garden so people in the community can learn about “their agricultural heritage, organic gardening, the slow food movement, and best practices for living ‘green,’ sustainable lives. ” Hence, the title, Frozen Zucchini. Cute, no?
And man, they have some of the best swag ever!
I mentioned how awesome their swag is at packet pickup, and the lady giving me my packet said “I have never heard that word before, but you are the third person to say it today!” Ha ha.
Okay, on to the race! The course is two loops that make up a 5K. As you know, no snowshoes were allowed. We were warned that there was a lot of ice on the trail, and heavily encouraged to use Yaxtrax, but a failed experience with them several years back has made me doubtful of their usefulness* on straight-up ice, so I just wore my trail shoes. And was fine. But probably only because we got a light dusting of snow the night before, which made the ice more manageable to run on. The course was very well marked with orange spray paint, and there were a lot of volunteers out there, warning us about really icy spots.
It ended up being more like a cross-country race – we were on and off snow-dusted grass, to icy and snow-dusted paved trail, to sometimes (rarely) dry trail. It was still really challenging, especially with 20 mile per hour winds, and snow sometimes blowing in our faces. But it was FUN. I found myself wishing I would be out there longer. Rachel was visiting to do the race with me, and, well… she’s my ultra buddy! Running “only” 3.1 miles with her just isn’t enough! Although, I did tell her during that run that my maximum on a course like that would probably be 5-6 miles. And while I was warm enough when we were running, I was very happy to change after the race! Ha ha ha.
Seen at the finish line!
We ended up averaging 11 minute miles. Which, during and after the fact, I think is very good, but is not what I was expecting going in to the race. The race wasn’t chip-timed, so we lined up near the front, and thought we’d be able to go pretty quickly, since we’ve done trails before. Ha ha! Not so much! People were flying by us! I was impressed by how fast they were going on that course!
After the race, a photographer asked us for our names, and said he took our photo and planned to run it in the Daily Herald (our local paper). Our photo didn’t end up in the print copy, but we were in the digital one (and the same article, with a quote from me, was in both). Fun! It pays to wear goofy outfits, guys!
Also, this caption says that Smart Farm (well, “Fun,” a typo, ha ha) grows their produce for local pantries. Cool!
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit bummed I didn’t get to race in snowshoes. Especially because I really wanted Rachel to experience it (she had actually been training in them… unlike me!)! But, that is a risk with this race – you don’t know if there will be enough snow. I didn’t do it one year for that reason (and missed the other year because I was out of town). Maybe next year we’ll have snow again. Or maybe I will try one of these snowshoe races in the Madison-area that Rachel has been telling me about! We’re so awesome at falling on the trails, Rachel needs to try it on the snow, too, ha ha (surprisingly, neither of us bit it during this race).
With or without snowshoes, it was a fun race, and a great way to kick off the racing year! And it made me even more stoked about the (longer) races Rachel and I will be doing together in the upcoming months!
*Although I do wonder if the newer model with spikes would be better