Last year at the Peaks Snowshoe Marathon I was excited for many different reasons. One was that I no longer had to try to train for a snowshoe race again. I was tired of trying to run with snow shoes. It was hard for me to keep up a good ‘race’ pace, I didn’t have ideal racing snowshoes and I often got blisters when wearing them. I was done with it all. I was eager to longer wear snowshoes and excited to feel the freedom of just running in plain old shoes again
But the race went well and after eight and half hours I was happy to stop as 19miles. I was very proud that I surpassed the half marathon mark. I was sore in so many new places on my legs for the next week. But still, most of all, I was just happy to be free of snowshoes!
Then fall came, and race amnesia set in. I think that running a race with snow shoes sounds like a good idea. Sigh… here I go again.
Though this year, I’m trying my best to keep my stress level about the race down. With last year experience and some good miles logged on snow shoes under my belt I feel quite content. I have the happy realistic goal of finishing the half again. I would be really excited to get to 19 miles. I would be ecstatic if I could do the whole 26.2. But I know me and my strength and my training. I am not really ready for the full marathon and I am ok with that.
There is one other big difference this year. There will be many people that are part of my ultra family there. That fact has turned it into more of fun event then just a race to me. There will be first-timers and veterans and those of us in the middle. As I think of the race, faces and images float threw my mind and make me smile. There are many faces of people I have met there over the years and have affected me, all in a good way. Delibac, Amy Lane, Mike Lacharite and his parents Don and Betty Lacharite, Steven Latour, Izzo, Ray Zirblis, Sherpa John, Josh and his dad Rik, Race Director Andy, Jason Hyaden(land owner, biker and trail creator), Joe(Land owner and Race Host), Adam Wilcox, Dan Myers and many others. It makes me smile and lightens my heart to think of seeing them all again.
This year is also very special as I look forward to seeing Leah, Grant and maybe Mandiee and Greg join the race. I feel pride and joy for them stepping up to the starting line. It doesn’t matter the distance they do or if this is there first race or not just. To me it is about getting out and doing it, having the courage to start, taking on a new challenge and having fun.
The images I see of past years make long to go back to see all again. The bon fire at the start finish with stone soup in a big pot next to the fire that most shied away from. The lead runners kicking up snow breaking trail threw an open field. The steel snowmobile bridge that meant the end of the lap was near. The ever green tree labyrinth near the top that was always mysterious and twisting. Joes cabin at the top of the course with a bonfire. The image of me taking face dives into the snow when I would trip on my snowshoes. The stream very near the end where you could either walk along tree log over it or hop over. The odd trail names. The random quotes of the seven deadly sins on trees along the course. The farm animals curiously watching us run by. People every where smiling. Its all good memories.
I look forward to feeling the whole race atmosphere at Peak this year, despite straping the shoes onto my feet. The thought of seeing my ultra family and being part Team Robert’s first big official race of the year makes the discomfort of wearing snowshoes almost non-existent.
Josh enjoying the Peak Snow Shoe trails on a training run. The Cabin on top of Joe's Mountain in the back ground. Gorgeous.