Weekend Review: hot marathons and cold snowshoe races
This weekend was filled with extremes: on Saturday the temps in LA climbed close to 80 degrees for the Olympic Trials Marathon and here on the East Coast, dangerously cold wind chill warnings had most runners taking their long run to the treadmill. Proof that runners have a crazy love affair with this thing called running.
Olympic Trials Marathon
I was excited to watch the Olympic Trials Marathon on Saturday and see America's best vie for a spot on the Olympic team. I didn't have any particular favorites, but honestly watching Galen Rupp take the men's race was a bit disheartening. I hope he's clean. You want to believe that he is, but the circumstances around him are filled with so much controversy that it's hard to believe that he is. It's a shame for the other men out there, like Luke Puskedra (who came in fourth) who are working hard to try to make their dreams come true, to have it taken by someone who has an unfair edge thanks to doping. If Rupp isn't clean, I'm sure he and his coach Alberto Salazar will do all that they would can to ensure he doesn't test positive. They have the resources to do so.
Kara Goucher had some choice words about the situation in this un-guarded interview:
Read Women's Running Magazine's full recap of the Olympic Trials Marathon HERE.
The race on the women's side was nothing short of amazing. The heart and emotion on display in the final miles was incredible. I was moved to tears by Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan's team effort. But what really got me wasn't the moment Shalane collapsed into Amy's arms it was the moment right after Amy crossed the finish line where instead of walking away she whipped right around and stood at the edge of the timing mat looking like she wanted to run back out there and run Shalane in to the finish. That moment is what really got me. (Don't mind the audio and slow motion on this video).
Snowshoe Race Recaps: Weekend Double Header
Right after the marathon finished I put on all.the.layers and headed out for the Kingman Farm Moonlight Snowshoe Race, the second race in the Granite State Snowshoe Race series. With the lack of snow we've had the Series schedule has been shuffled around quite a bit, and a few have been moved to weekends where I can't participate because we'll be traveling. My goal was to make as many of the series races as possible and the cold wasn't going to keep me away.
I knew that it would be cold, both on Saturday night and probably even colder on Sunday morning. The forecast was for a real feel of -20 give or take with the gusts of wind. That' cold. But I knew if I dressed appropriately I could be comfortable for the 30 or so minutes I'd be out there running. Here's what I wore for both races. It worked perfectly and my toes were never cold and my fingers warmed up with in a mile of starting.
On my face: balaclava, hat, buff, and Aquafor on any exposed skin
Upper Body: UnderArmor Cold Gear long sleeve, nordic suit top, fleece vest on Sunday when it was colder
Lower body: Merino wool underwear, athleta capri/skirt combo, nordic suit tight (the nordic suit is a simple spandex material and is not particularly warm on it's now despite the name which makes you think it is suitable for "Nordic" conditions)
Hands: glove liners and Scott Wind Stopper gloves which I bought a little bit larger so that there would be some air between the liners and the gloves.
Feet: Smart Wool socks with shoes tied loosely (wearing thicker socks doesn't necessarily mean warmer toes especially if the thicker socks make your shoes tighter) duct tape over the toe (worked wonders to keep the wind and snow out of the mesh of my shoes)
Saturday night's race was a speedy run through the woods, where the trail was marked with ice lanterns. Pretty picturesque if you took a minute to look around and take in the lanterns and the crystal clear starry sky. I bit the dust at the start (right after the race director warned us all to be careful not to fall since it's a cramped start on single lane track) when someone stepped on the back of my snowshoe. I popped back up but apparently not unscathed, later I discovered a nice gash in my leg (and a whole in both layers of tights:( where someone's ice cleat must have caught me.
Falling at the start lost me a couple positions, but I was able to catch up and pass the two other women in front of me and finish second female to the super speedy (and last year's series winner) Leslie O'Dell. It seems that about 100 other people were crazy enough to run in those conditions as well, as the town hall was packed with a gritty bunch of New Englanders willing to hurl themselves through the woods, in the dark, on snowshoes in sub zero temperatures.
On Sunday there were about 80 fewer people, as only 15 of us showed up to run the 7K look through the woods at Horsehill Preserve in Merrimack, NH. I felt beat up on Sunday and it was far colder than Saturday.
I came. I ran. I went home. I finished second woman again, but not before doubling back on the course a couple times to add an extra 1/4 mile because I second guessed a turn. And of course the obligatory "we showed up" picture with other memebers of Six03Endurance.
I had fun and that's what it's all about. Way more fun than running 20 miles on the treadmill, which is what I would have done if I hadn't been racing. I choose -20 before the treadmill.
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What were your thoughts on the Olympic Trials Marathon? Did you brave the elements this weekend hot or cold?