Monday, December 22, 2014

Snowshoe Race And A Slew Of Articles

Snowshoe Race and a Slew of Articles

Ran my first ever snowshoe race on Saturday in Beaver Creek. In fact, this was my first time on snowshoes this year. Last year I used them a fair bit during my G & T challenge, and although I did technically use them once earlier in November on a miserable run up Grays Peak, I have not used them at all as it has been nice and dry both down low and up high. Needless to say, I was not in great "snowshoeing shape" whatever that might be on Saturday. I don't know much about how snowshoe races are run, but from a little research online prior, I figured it would be on packed or groomed trails, perhaps on the Avon golf course or something. Boy was I wrong. I later learned that this race in particular is known to be challenging. As the RD said, he tries to make a snowshoe race with some running, not a running race with snowshoes. That means that the "course" consisted of arrows tacked to trees at random intervals leading one up, down, through bushes, over and yes under logs, with ample bushwhacking, vertical gain, and general adventure. Certainly a fun challenge as we ran, then trudged, then slid, then ran again all through the aspens and woods just above the town of Avon right outside the Beaver Creek ski resort.

I had a blast, and although I had to slow a bit after the first mile to get my heart rate back under control, it was a great race overall. I will certainly keep it and others on my radar - I really dig these low key events. After my initial redlining, I was able to get my heart rate back under control and keep a solid pace that resulted in a 6th place overall finish with a time of 1:06:23. One thing I noticed, is that some people had directly mounted their shoes to the snowshoes, which I would assume results in a lighter setup. Something to look into if one were to pursue any more of these with any seriousness.

 Warming up, something I did not do enough of!
 And the gun goes off!
 Leading the charge up the first hill.
6th place overall - great race, fun times.

A slew of articles that I have read over the past week or so, some really good ones in there.

First are two on diets. A real good analysis of the whole BulletProof Coffee crap. I like to say, follow the French and keep the coffee black and eat a croissant to get your butter if that is your thing. And to go with the BulletProof Coffee trend, here is a good take on the Paleo diet trend. When I was getting my Ph.D. I spent a lot of time researching human development and human prehistory, and there is so much evidence out there that demonstrates we are omnivores more then anything else. Most of the Paleo stuff I've read is highly selective in its choices of evidence and rarely looks at humans from a global or even continental perspective, but rather picks and chooses what to take as evidence from one cultural group or another. More often then not, those cultural groups were outliers, and were not the norm for humans and human subsistence at that time period.

GZ posted a good article the other day on Ron Hill and his lost legacy. I was one of the uninformed, so thanks GZ. I do believe there are lots of others out there, past runners and climbers who are still around today that people just don't know about. Steve Jones comes to mind. He lives in Boulder, and I see him on a regular basis, yet most people don't know who he is or what he accomplished. A quick example: The other day Steve is sitting in a coffee shop in Boulder, next to him is one of Boulder's more elite ultrarunners, and right next to him is a CU kid into running (mostly fast trail stuff). All three are within 15 feet of each other, yet all three fail to recognize or acknowledge each other. Or maybe that is just Boulder?

OK, a couple new science articles for those interested in trying to stay up-to-date on the latest science of running:
The last article is the one I find most intriguing. The psychology of running, racing, and sports performance is perhaps one of the least understood areas of the sport. I know from personal experience that if I get bogged down in negative thoughts during a race, I don't perform as well. My new mantra during a race, which I try and repeat over and over and over without letting any other thoughts enter my mind is: light, fast, smooth, easy. I just keep saying those words over and over and over in a meditative mantra fashion. It's helped during the last three races for me, with two age group podiums and two top ten finishes.

Black and white of Denver from high up on Apex the other day.

Great report on the Boulder Bad Ass 100 here. Not sure if it will ever be repeated. If you didn't know about the 24 Hours of Mt. Sanitas run, here is a short article I wrote on it.

Finally, another article from GZ - we are just soft and have given up trying. Time to go train!


  1. Nice job at Beaver Creek, dang. Just out of curiosity, what are your snowshoes? I've pondered getting a pair for winter running but they are pricey.

    What I know about coffee is don't drink three cups of strong stuff before a run unless there's good forest cover.

    1. Thanks! I'm using the Atlas Run Snowshoe, which retails at around $200. Works great for most things, although it does not have the big flotation of a larger snowshoe. Northern Lights makes a version that you can directly mount a pair of shoes onto, that is what several racers were using. They go for $200 as well.

      Yes, that is the first rule of coffee and running!

  2. Runners memories are short. There are tons of incredible runners that history, even within the sport, has mostly forgot. I like to think with age, I have a pretty good view on the history of the sport, but I recognize I am pretty ignorant in the ultra scene.

    I have used the mantra "flow like water" when I am spasming up coming down Pikes.

    1. It's the same in climbing, really short memories. Not sure why, especially when some had such style or overcame such odds.

      That's a good mantra, as long as it doesn't make you pee!