|My Valentine got me some great goodies from The Ginger People!|
|Starting date on this app was February 12, 2009.|
|Ten years later, the distance is 8,373.65 miles! Whoop! Whoop!|
|Heading toward the finish amidst the pines at the Cummings Nature Center in Naples, NY during Nordicfest! (Photo Courtesy of Mary Ryan.)|
The final race of the Goose Adventure Racing Series was the running of the Nordicfest 10K Snowshoe Race held at the Rochester Museum of Science-Cummings Nature Center in Naples, NY on Saturday, February 16, 2019. Going into the race I was 6th overall and 2 points behind 5th place.
There was enough snow for snowshoes on the course, but the snow was crusty and then powdery underneath with the occasional wet spot/puddle hiddle in secret areas. It was chillier than I had thought and I went back and forth beforehand with what level of layer to use for my mid layer and finally decided to take my heaviest layer off and replace it with something a bit lighter.
One of the things I have enjoyed about this series is getting to know some of the people I am competing against. Two of them, Veronica and John, I have run with during some point of just about every race. So as we started off, I followed John into the woods and we were soon following behind Veronica. While we passed her early on and then I took off from John, I have really enjoyed running/snowshoeing with them as they have really pushed me in this series. I feel like we aren't just competitors but friends.
By the 1.5 mile mark I had settled in not too far behind Michael, who was 2 points ahead of me in the overall standings. Then...I stepped in a low spot which was really a puddle covered by snow and I broke through. This immediately tripped me up and I went down. But...the adrenaline from the fall pushed me right up and I got going as a runner behind asked if I was okay. I answered in the affirmative and then took a quick assessment. Other than a bit of intial pain from the cold and wintry mix now on my legs, especially around my knees, I was okay. That subsided fairly quickly, but I did lose a few seconds to my competition. Then after we passed the aid station, the slow 400ft climb from mile 2-4 started. While I hiked a lot of that and tried to keep Michael in my sights, I couldn't seem to gain on him, and little did I know until I talked to him afterwards, he was in a battle with two other competitors near him, including Peter, who was immediately in front of him in the standing by 6 points!
I will admit that the hill, the fall, and even the cumulative effect of 4 weekends of racing within 6 weeks took a toll as I went through that section and it was tempting at points to let the wind out of my sails a bit. I tried to keep pushing and checked behind me often for where anyone was behind me. No one seemed to close until the downhill started.
Another view from the trail. Photo Courtesy of Mary Ryan.
As the long downhill continued, eventually a runner got closer and closer to me but he didn't actually make the pass until I stopped at the aid station and I let him go through. He stayed within sight for the next mile and as we entered the flats and drew closer to the science center, a stretch I remembered from last year's Frost Town 25K. As we made a sort of U-Turn within the woods, I looked back and saw three male snowshoers gaining on me even as the competitor in front slowed and occasionally walked. I realized at this point I had to book it home if I didn't want to lose any more points to anyone ahead of me, (since I didn't know where the guys immediately behind me in the series standings were even though I had quite a few points on them), so the last 8/10 of a mile had me pushing the limit keeping them at bay while also trying to still catch the guy in front.
We passed through the rows of pines from the earlier picture above and I pushed as hard as I could. As I turned the corner I saw two of my kids and then the finish line...praise GOD!!! I crossed and saw my family, excited to be done!
The overall series and master's winners (minus 1 who had left and plus 1 for a 2nd place tie).
Then with my family and several new friends made over the last 6 weeks, we had a chili lunch and awaited the series awards. I am fortunate to have met almost all of those in the picture above and enjoyed competing with and against them throughout this series. Since there was a tie for 2nd place in the Men's Category overall, Michael ended up winning the Master's Division by, (my own reckoning as the final standings haven't come out yet), I think 4 points over me. This puts me as 5th place overall due to the tie for 2nd, or perhaps 6th depending upon how they list it. More importantly though, I not only met my goal, but smashed it. My hope had been to finish Top 10 and that certainly happened! Along the way I learned I can now push my body hard once again, (5 mos out from hernia surgery), had a lot of fun, gained some new friends, and give all the glory to GOD!
Interestingly enough, the two people right behind me for the race were the two people right behind me in the standings and that I hadn't beaten in any of the other races except for Saturday and that's probably because I prayed and God granted me the ability to push hard the last several minutes of the race! Woof! I was beat! I am still tired as I write this on Monday night.
After the Nordicfest 10K with 2 of my kids.
Again, a pretty light week, but I knew I had a busy weekend not only with racing but I also filled in preaching the day after the 10K snowshoe race. Just 10 miles total, 6 from the race and two 2 mile runs during the week with a total of 600 feet of gain and 657 feet of loss.