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Third Place in Age Group

Third Place in Age Group

First the great news, I won 3rd place, 13th female over all at the Santa Fe Snowshoe Classic. (I desperately need a travel  mug and winning one is the best!) The route was  a 3.8 mile clockwise loop consisting of Big Tesuque Trail #152,Winsor Trail # 254, Pacheco Canyon Rd. and unofficial, short but obvious linking trail back to the Big T trail. Start/end elevation is 9640 ft. with 610 ft. total climbing.  I felt like I was always climbing. It topped out just under 10,000ft. There was a nice downhill along Pacheco Canyon Road, but it was a climb to Pacheco and a climb after it. It was so much fun! It was a small race, 81 runners  all in the woods. I had a few opportunities to be completely alone They had the women start 5:00 after the men to give  more room on the single track trail. Though the first 5 women, despite starting 5:00 behind  smoked more than 1/2 the men! One of which was in my age group. She is 59 and immediately reminded me of Katherine Martin – she is an incredible runner.  Snow was not great, it was hard packed but I hit about 5 places of  dirt and rock, no snow. The whole time I was running I  felt pure joy and my hip flexors.

The day before I took a cross-country ski lesson, part of the UNM community program in Los Alamos. The instructor, Hans-Peder Hanson and his wife Sue who taught the class are both Division 1 college skiers, NCAA award-winning racers. I have not checked them out on-line, well just enough to know they went to Dartmouth,  but it is obvious by watching them move that they excel in the world of ski competition. The class meets every Saturday for 2 hours for 2 months.  This week we met at Pajarito Ski Mountain.

I have not skied in 30 years. That makes me sound like I am 105, but frankly I did not ski after high school. I bought a new pair of skis over Thanksgiving in Lake Placid and this would be my first trial. Hans and Sue had us on a  snow covered gravel road with ski tracks running along each side. It was not more than 150 meters, It started up, then dipped down, then up again. We went back and forth practicing drills and form. I focused on my glide, which at times  felt good, my hips extending far behind me stretching my hip flexors in a big way (yep, this is the trigger). Hans had to keep reminding me to keep my hand pushing far behind me and pulled my elbow up behind me, kind of like this photo I found on the internet:
ski_floatI would stop it at my hip. I also learned to open my hand up as it goes back, like the guy above.  My biggest issue? I get tangled up and move the same size arm and leg forward. For example, I move my right leg forward and my right arm. It is crazy, so I start my motion by walking with my skis so that I alternate arm and leg. After two hours and up and back gliding, within a 150 meter track I could feel my hip flexors were tired. After driving home the 45 miles, they were a little more tired. At night they woke me up several times, or was that the dogs on my bed pushing me into a little ball so that could not stretch out? Anyhow when I started today, it was hard to lift my knees, it got better a mile in and pretty good near the end. But as I type this, oh boy, they are spent.
Next weekend there is another snowshoe race and x-c ski race. I would like to run the snowshoes and watch the ski race. It is part of a weekend long festival in Chama called Chama Chili Ski Classic. it begins on Friday and runs through Monday. There is beer tasting, music, pasta dinner, chili cook off, yoga, 2 days of racing, fat tire snow bike race, more music, more chili. It looks like a blast! It is 60 miles one way, but I think Sunday I may  head up there. I think this snowshoe race increased my lung capacity by at least 50%, maybe 100! I sure busted a lung out there and it was delightful! This is a huge plus in aerobic building for the Boston Marathon come April.

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Carls Meadow

Carls’ Meadow

Is that right, the end of week three? Right now I am too tired to get up and check my log. I am not tired because I ran hard today, in fact I did not run, I printed.  It is not a bad thing that I missed my weekend long run, though it is hard to consider 9 miles long. But it is when you have a quad that does not fire.  I will run the 9 or maybe 10 tomorrow on my “rest day” I am not too concerned. I got in my other days.

Yesterday I had a magnificent time snow shoeing at the Santa Fe Ski Basin with my friend Lisa. More specifically we started at Aspen Vista Trailhead,  shoed up the Windsor Trail past the ski lifts, made a loop into the creek bed and back down and round to the Aspen Vista Road.  We started at 9,900 ft of altitude and climbed to 11,427 in 1.83. That is steep. We hiked for almost four hours,  at times we were up to our hips in snow.  It was great.

My runs are getting  better. No longer am I walking or running backward for 1:00 after every 2:00 of forward. I reduced it to 30 seconds. Also I ran 3 miles on Thursday without any turn around. That made me feel great! My quad is freezing up less and most of my run pace is close to 8:00 miles.

Today I had a big day of printing which is why I did not run. I was in the studio all day working on my 30 prints in 30 days series and just ran out of daylight to run.

Next Sunday I have a 3.8 mile snow shoe race. That should be interesting, running in snow shoes at 10,000 ft of elevation.   This will be like Elmer Fudd chasing Rabbit in slow motion.

I am taking bets at how long it will take me to complete this. My most recent marathon time is 3:49 (April 2014) best x-c time 22:30, 10k time 45:30, all at sea level. Whoever comes closest to how long it take me gets their choice of print from my 30 prints in 30 days project which you can read about here. Remember you want to win a print, not worry about hurting my feelings. There will be no ego in trying to complete 3.8 miles of running in snowshoes at over 10,000 ft. For reference the fastest male  in 2014 was 33:46, fastest female 43:25. I am going to try out the trail on Wednesday, and hope I can complete it in under an hour. Wish me luck.

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