Saturday, February 16, 2008

That's more like it

I picked up Simon and Katrina this morning and we made our way up to Grouse Mountain for the third race in the Yeti Snowshoe race series.  For the regular readers out there, you will remember my frustration with my last (which was my first) attempt at snowshoe racing.  Going out too quickly, not knowing the course nor the difficulty of running hard in snowshoes left me unsure as to whether or not I enjoyed the sport.  Today would be different than a couple of weeks ago.

My goal for the race today was to race smartly.  It seemed as though I had left my race smarts in Victoria as my first three races of this year all ended up with my blowing up.  Not spectacular bonks or anything, but I may have been a little too big for my britches as a result of the workouts I have had in the early season.  In my time since the National Triathlon Centre, I have forgotten that great workouts and great races do not always walk holding hands.  I have been reminded (three times) of that this early season.  And so, with all that floating around the empty space that is my mind, I remained humble before the race.

Katrina, Simon, and I boarded the gondola and arrived at the chalet of Grouse in plenty of time.  We had some good conversation and prepared for our warm up.  After trying to make sense of the course, we made our way into the snow and fog and had a good 15 minute warm up.  The snow, which was awful on Wednesday, was much better thanks to 15cm of fresh fallen powder.  Things were looking good.  We knew the course, we knew the terrain, and I had committed to myself to be smart.  

The start came and went and I settled into my group.  I purposely went out comfortable.  The Grouse course has what amounts to essentially two HUGE hills (about 20 minutes long for one and about 10 minutes for the other - which is a lot in a 58 minute race).  I knew that the last ten minute one was going to be the spot that people would blow up if they went too hard.  After that 10 minute hill it was literally all downhill (and a huge downhill at that) to the finish.  

I was pleased with my progress as we made our way to the peak of the mountain.  I had been hiking quite a bit as it was too long and too steep for me to try to run it.  The first two finishers may have run it all, but for me I would have gone too lactic.  I sat in behind some guys and passed them on the brief flats and long downhills.  At the turnaround I was 12th, but, as planned, I passed two guys on the ten minute hill.  I then had a grand ol' time bombing back downhill and finishing with a cartwheel - a stark contrast to the previous race.  I finished 10th, one place back from the last race (9th), but feeling much better.

Simon, for his part, went out hard and at the end he was essentially a mirror of the emotions I exhibited after my first race.  He finished 6th, a testament to his ability as he hasn't trained much in the past few weeks.  Katrina was second woman with a great race.  A hot chocolate later we were on our way down. 

Tomorrow is a long run, but looped.  I am heeding the advice of pretty much everyone I speak with in regard to Boston - be ready for the downhills.  Now, we know I love the downhills, but I don't think that I can over-prepare for them, so I am going to be using Mt. Seymour Parkway tomorrow for 2.5 km repeats of downhill running.  Should be good times!

Oh, and Definitely Maybe wasn't bad.  In the vain of Love Actually and How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, (chick) flicks are starting to have a bit of a male oriented narrative which is (sometimes) engaging.  Last night's movie was one of those types of movies.  If you have to go, that is a good one to go to.

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