Monday, February 25, 2019

2019 Week 8 Review: Final & Official Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series Standings, Weekly Stats, Ice Run/Winter Trail Running Gear Reveiw

My favorite picture from this year's Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series.

A day late again, but it was a busy weekend coming off of the kids' break.  Few more miles this week even though I only got out three times.  Catch up with this weekly review!

Final & Official Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series Standings:

The final standings for the local Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series Standings came out during the week, and as I thought, I was 6th place overall!  Woohoo!  Not only that, but I was only 4 points out of 5th place behind the Master's Winner.  Considering I was just hoping to break the top 10, I'm pretty excited.  Barely 5 months ago I was in the hospital having an inguinal hernia surgery and that followed by a rehab that didn't go as well as I had hoped.  I didn't actually start feeling well, really well, actually limber and free of associated back pain, until literally, like the day before the first snowshoe race.  Praise God!  

Here's how the series broke down for me:

Frozen Assets 5K    29th overall, 20th male, 81 points in the men's division.

Winterfest 8K          32nd overall, 25th male, 76 points.

Little Rodent(5mi).  12th overall, 7th male.  44 points.

Cast-a-Shadow 6hr   12th overall, 10th male, 56 points.

Nordicfest 10K         13th overall, 12 male, 89 points.

Total:  346.

I have never raced this much in January and February.  While the first 2 races ended up being trail races due to a lack of snow base, the final 3 were all snowshoe races, and the first ones that I have ever done.  This was the first time in a long time where I really tried to compete and scrapped for every point.  In addition though, by the end of the series, I also found I had some new friends and we had a common comraderie from the 6 weeks.  

Kudos to Goose Adventure Racing for putting on a great series.  Kudos to my 2 chiropractors at Hadley Chiropractic and my LMT, Jennifer Sheets.  If it weren't for the three of them, I wouldn't have done so well, and might still be in a lot of lower back pain.  God has definitely gifted each of you.  Thanks to four great companies for letting me represent them as an ambassador: The Ginger People, Orange Mud, Nuun Hydration, and Sportland Tea.  Thank you to my wife and kids for letting me do all this racing in such a short amount of time over several weekends.  Finally, once again, Praise God for strengthening me and making this possible!

Weekly Stats:

Coming off the final snowshoe race, I took a few days off last week and once again only got three runs completed.  A few more miles than the prior week, but nowhere close to what this number will hopefully be later this year:  13.3 miles with 751 feet of gain and 764 feet of loss.  The final run was a 6 mile ice run with 512 feet of gain and 518 feet of loss.  See below.

Ice Run/Winter Training Gear Review:

A lot of pictures follow from that 6 mile ice run.  I couldn't have even completed this run if I hadn't bought a pair of Yaktrax Run Traction Cleats for Running on Snow and Ice.  I bought these originally for the last race in the snowshoe series, Nordicfest, in case there wasn't enough snow to snowshoe.  I didn't end up needing them to race, so Saturday was my first run in them.  They were awesome.  I had complete traction and therefore confidence on all the ice you see below and only slipped one time in 6 miles.  No falls!  All pictures are from Mendon Ponds Park on what I call the West Esker Ridge Trail but what many call the green loop, (though I might have been off that loop in a few places.)

Send Off:

Proverbs 18:10

The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
       the righteous man runs into it and is safe.

Have a great, safe, week and get out there and ENJOY!!!---Bradford Zinnecker

Monday, February 18, 2019

2019 Week 7 Review: 10 Years Running Log Data, Nordicfest 10K Snowshoe Race Review, Weekly Stats

My Valentine got me some great goodies from The Ginger People!

Sorry this is a day late!  Some great milestones accomplished this busy week even though the mileage was still fairly low!  Catch up with this weekly review!

10 Years Running Log Data:

Starting date on this app was February 12, 2009.

Ten years later, the distance is 8,373.65 miles!  Whoop!  Whoop!

The two pictures really describe this without too much more information needed.  I have been using this (now very old) iPad Touch to continually record my runs since February 12, 2009.  I started trail running long before that, back in 2002, but I don't have any of my old logs as far as I know.  I only use this old Touch for this single app.  Hoping to hit 9,000 miles perhaps later this year and for sure before 2/12/20!

Nordicfest 10K:

Image may contain: people standing, tree, outdoor and nature
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.

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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!  

Image may contain: 8 people, including Mary Ryan, people smiling, people standing
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.

Weekly Stats:

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.

Send Off:

Isaiah 40:28-31

Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
    and his understanding no one can fathom.
29 He gives strength to the weary
    and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

Have a great week and get out there and ENJOY!!!---Bradford Zinnecker

Sunday, February 10, 2019

2019 Week 6 Review: Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series Update, Scott Jurek Book Review, News Links, Weekly Stats, Winter Training Tip

Panoramic view from a bench at Sherwood Fields Park outside of Penfield, NY.

A very low mileage week coming off of 5 hours of racing back on Groundhog Day as well as having  early morning starts at work on Thursday and Friday.  Catch up with this weekly review!  

The start line for Winterfest back on January 13, 2019.

Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series Update:

I was quite shocked when my friend Jeri sent me a note on Facebook last Sunday saying she had seen the overall standings for the snowshoe series and that I was in...6th place overall!!!  Woah!  Praise God!!!  I had thought maybe at best I'd move into around 8th if I broke the top 10 at all!  Here are the overall men's standings with one race left to go:  Goose Adventure Racing Men's Snowshoe Standings.  This really was an answer to prayer.  I had pushed hard last Saturday morning in the first race to score over 40 points so I'd only have to run 6 laps in the afternoon to grab the rest of my points (you max out at 100).  I was still feeling the effort of these races even as recent as Friday at work.  I'm trying to stay limber for the final race and catch up on some rest and sleep.  

Scott Jurek Book Review:

Image result for scott jurek northI saw Scott Jurek's new book, North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail on Black Friday at our local Barnes and Noble.  I mentioned to my wife that she could get me it for Christmas and that's exactly what happened.

This book is an interesting read because it comes from 2 perspectives as his wife Jenny also writes part of each chapter giving us a sort of behind the scenes/support crew/spouse's perspective on an elite athlete going after an FKT on one of the hardest trail systems in our country.

The book is separated into the major sections of the AT journey.  It gives us both a firsthand account of the journey for Scott, Jenny, and a whole host of people that join them and/or they run into, but also dives into their own struggles not only with the journey north, but in their souls.  

This was not an easy journey for Scott or Jenny and certainly at times it seems as if they both may have been at their breaking point, but in the end...well, I guess you'll have to read it!   A great read and I really liked that the book included both of their perspectives on this life changing journey.

News Links:

A few articles from this past week that were interesting and/or helpful reads:

First Aid Wound Management, actually a simple but helpful article for those who might need to help someone out either at an aid station or on course.

Jam Jam Profile, a great article on the insanely busy host of Mountain Outhouse News on YouTube.

Remembering John Morelock , an article by Andy Jones-Wilkins on a great man from the ultra world. I truly enjoyed Morelock's book when I read it back in 2015.

Trail Racing Going Corporate, the new debate, is this good or bad?  Let me know your thoughts on social media!

Trail Runner Attacked by Mountain Lion, you've likely seen this already, but if not, or if you've been looking for the article, here you go.  

Ginger & Tumeric VS. NSAIDs for Battling Arthritis, Interesting article from one of the companies I represent.  Ginger truly is an awesome spice/food!

Sherwood Fields Park.

Weekly Stats:

A very, very low mileage week.  I decided to take Sunday thru Tuesday off to recover from the 5 hours of snowshoe racing on Groundhog Day.  Thursday and Friday I had early starts at work necessitating that I get up at 4am.  That left me with just Wednesday and Saturday to run.  I was still pretty tired on Friday as I noted above, so just 7 miles this week with 306 feet of gain and 312 feet of loss.  Though this isn't much for a week of running, I have done more racing in January and February than ever and last Saturday's almost 20 mile snowshoe effort is the longest I have done since well before my surgery last September.

Bit icy back in this section of single track.  

Winter Training Tip:

Winter of 2018, I somehow managed to chap both of my eyelids.  This got so bad that I had to resort to some pretty strong OTC health aids to fix it and they were a bit painful.  This year, seeking to not let this happen again, I started lathering up with Aquaphor on my eyelids and below my eyes for that matter as well.  While I have a tiny area on my right eye that feels like it is trying to develop, it is so much better than last year when both of my eyelids were fire red!  Now, eyelid chafing may not be an issue for you, but perhaps somewhere else is...guess what...this stuff is awesome anywhere for dealing with chafing/chapping.  Oh, and no, I am not an ambassador for Aquaphor, this is simply this week's training tip to be used in any sport you might do in the winter time from skiing to mountain biking, to snowshoeing, to running.

Image result for aquaphor
This stuff is awesome!!!

Send Off:

Hebrews 12:1-3

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow wearyand lose heart."

Stay strong, persevere, and get out there and ENJOY!!!   Brad Zinnecker

Goofing around Saturday taking a selfie laying down on a bench in Sherwood Fields Park.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

2019 Week 5 Review: Polar Vortex, Little Rodent Race Review, Cast-a-Shadow Race Review, Weekly Stats, Trail Running/Snowshoeing Tip

A view from the Little Rodent/Cast-a-Shadow Snowshoe Course.
Well, a low mileage week until Saturday's full day of racing!  Catch up with this weekly review!

Polar Vortex:

Like many of you, I didn't go outside too much in the middle of week with the wind chills being so cold.  I got in a two mile run early in the week, and a short 1 mile snowshoe at home the day before my weekend races.  Even that was still pretty cold at just a few degrees above 0.  Andy Jones Wilkins had a great post at on "The 3 A's of Braving Deep Winter."  It's pretty good and helped set me in the right mindset for Saturday as well even though it was nowhere near as cold as the middle of the week.

Ready for the first of 2 snowshoe races on Saturday at Black Creek Park in Western NYS.

Little Rodent & Cast-a-Shadow Race Reviews:

Saturday as I drove to Black Creek Park, I was sorting things out in my head and praying to God, that it might somehow be possible that I could do well enough in the morning race in terms of points, that I would be able to reduce how many laps I needed to run in the afternoon race.  Let me explain...

The snowshoe races in the Goose Adventure Racing Snowshoe Series each give out points based on a 100 for the 1st place finisher in each gender, then 99 for 2nd, and so on, except for the Little Rodent Race which gives out points starting at 50.  The reason for that is, because in the afternoon, you can also run Cast-a-Shadow, (note the names and the date, February 2, aka Groundhog Day), and score up to 10 points per lap during the 6 hour event.  However, between the two events, you max out at 100.  

Now, you could simply skip the race in the morning, and run 10 laps in the afternoon to score 100 points.  Laps this year were 2.5 miles, in snowshoes, so it would be 25 miles in six hours.  Not impossible, but not easy either.  My gamble was to score high enough in the morning that I would only have to run say 7-8 laps in the afternoon, but have more time for them.  However, as I mentioned above, I had it calculated based on entrants and a few other factors, that if I ran well enough in the morning, I might be able to score over 40 points and only need to run 6 laps in the afternoon, having a leisurely 1 lap per hour rate if I wanted!  This is what I was talking about with God and praying for as I drove!

Some of my racing gear!
Little Rodent

As we started Little Rodent, I tried to count how many men there were, but I kept losing count.  Then the race started and the guy next to me wondered out loud why he was up toward the front of the race.  That had me looking, and noticing that we were just behind probably 10-12 people.  I eventually got settled in behind two of the racers I have been coming in near in the last two races, John and Veronica.  One or two people passed us and we may have passed one as well, but the three of us so use to racing near each other over the series seemed good together for a bit.  However, as we came into the last half mile or so of the first 2.5 mile lap, John went to pass Veronica and I followed him.  I had already started thinking about when I should make a move myself shortly before this.  After we crossed the start/finish line for the first time, John and I continued together, but when we came into the second clearing on the course that was very wide open, I made a move, (much earlier than I had originally planned), and John encouraged me to go, so I did, hoping to eventually catch the one guy who had passed us on the first loop and who we could still occasionally see.  

Slowly I gained on him and had almost caught him when I was playing with my sunglasses which kept fogging up on me, and as we made a turn I tripped and fell, giving away precious I had to work to regain some of what I had just lost.  Eventually I was able to catch and pass him, but as I started to walk up the one main hill I walked every lap yesterday of both races, I noticed he had gained some time back on me.  Here we go again, I have to keep moving, because this could be the point that determines if I have to run 6 or 7 laps in the afternoon.

As we came into the final straight away below the hill up to the finish, it looked like I was okay, but I needed to keep it going.  I crossed the line and had run just over 11 minute miles for almost a 5 mile snowshoe.  Woof!  

Now I had about 1-1.5 hours off to clean up, change, eat, and prepare for the 6 hour...


So, of course, before I started the second race, I checked to see how I had faired at the first one.  The one gentleman I asked said it looked like I was 7th male, (12th overall).  Woohoo!  That meant I only had to do 6 laps.  I decided I would confer with the man who runs the points just to be sure sometime during the event, but I loved that I would only have to run 15 more miles!  
Kind of hard to get the whole turkey in the picture!

(Originally it looked like the loops if it was a snowshoe race and not a trail run race would be closer to 2 miles, but they came out to be around 2.5.  I haven't run over 10 miles since my surgery last September and my longest ever snowshoe was last weekend at 7.73 miles.  I haven't run 20 miles in one day or one go since 2015.  So not having to run a 7th, or even 8th lap, was key to me for this 6 hour race.  I wasn't competing for a distance award like others, I just wanted to get the maximum 100 points for the series.)

To have some fun and keep things relaxed, I brought a few hats with me to change and run laps at the 6 hour race.  The first two laps I ran in a turkey hat I use to use for directing Turkey Trots back when we lived in Iowa.

I also got to rock my new Orange Mud Dirt Unit jersey for the first time in this race.  I had done a full change of clothes including shoes for this second race.  Since we had access to the lodge at the park at the end of each lap, I stopped after each lap just for a few minutes to either change hats, socks, stock up on water and/or food.  This couple minute rest each lap added to my overall pace and time, but also allowed me a mental break.  As I stopped in between the first and second laps, I grabbed a thicker buff to wear around my neck as my chest was feeling a bit cold from my neck being exposed.  This seemed to help some.  In between my second and third laps I changed hats and put on my cowboy hat, which was actually nice and warm, just a bit of a struggle between the end of my hat and getting my bottle out of the Orange Mud HydraQuiver.  But I don't think they originally designed the pack around racing in cowboy hats...

As the laps started to add up, I walked more and ran less, my hips starting to tighten up.  However, I was able to finish 3 laps in 2 hours and considered that it might be possible to finish all 6 laps I needed to complete in 4 hours giving me a couple hours to hang out before the dinner and not having to worry about donning a headlamp for my final laps.  

After lap 4, I simply changed into a stocking cap deciding to keep my last fun hat for the final lap.  I kept on praying and trusting God, simply moving forward and going into that ultra/marathon shuffle that many of have done before of running a bit then walking a bit.  A friend from my TrailsRoc group, Garth, passed me off and on over the laps, (as did many of the fast relay racers who were much younger men and women!) and we encouraged one another.  My captain Jeri from a relay race last summer, was also at the event racing and we had seen each other at the start and once or twice in the lodge, but somehow never on the course!  Finally I came up the hill for the penultimate time to the finish line, put on my cooked turkey hat, confirmed this lap would max me out for points, and headed out.

(As I type this now, on Sunday, my hips feel about as tight as they did during that 6th lap...which, if you count the 2 from the morning, was really 8.  But then my friend Garth did 11, and that wasn't even enough to win the event!)  I ran when I could during that final lap, but it was in very short bursts as my hips were flaring at me and I didn't want to do any lasting damage after my hernia surgery less than 6 months ago.  I also didn't want to overcook myself when I still had one more event in the series in two weeks.  Plus, I had all the time I needed.  Yet...I couldn't help myself and still tried to make the 6 laps in in 4 hours.  I came in right around that mark at 5pm.  As I came to the line, they asked if I was going to do another lap and my response was that this turkey was cooked...

This turkey was cooked, and my hips were sore!

As I came in, Jeri and I talked about whether she was going back out and I told her I was done.  She decided to be done too.  Her stomach was acting funky, so we decided to hang out, snack a little, change, clean up and just enjoy the event as it wound down and the relay teams fought it out.  Then we had dinner, congratulated the winners, won raffle prizes, and headed our separate ways!

My friend Jeri and I at the Cast-a-Shadow event.

Final results for this event and an updated points total for the series isn't complete yet, so I will have to add those in in next week's recap!

Weekly Stats:

Not too much during the week, but lots yesterday!  Miles: 22.7, 19.7 of which was Saturday.  Elevation gain and loss I'm not totally sure as I forgot to record it yesterday before I shut my watch off.  The course was deemed fairly flat and it was compared to the other courses, but there definitely was some gain and loss that added up over time.

Not a lot of color yesterday.  Overcast most of the day.

Trail Running Tip/Snowshoeing Tip:

So I had caught this somewhere on social media during the week and confirmed it yesterday with another racer and then myself as I competed:  there's no need to snowshoe race with trail shoes on the snowshoes.  Road shoes are lighter and since the traction of the trail shoe is lost because it's on top of the snow, there's no need to race in heavier shoes.

One of 2 pairs of Brooks Adrenalines I used yesterday to snowshoe race.

Send Off:

In Luke 15:11-32 you will find the famous parable of the prodigal son.  The story in short is that one of a man's 2 sons asks his father for his share of the inheritance before his father dies.  He gets it and then wastes it, finally realizing what he has done.  Then he decides to go back to his father and ask for forgiveness.  

Now, when the dad sees his son far off, what do you think he does?  He certainly could just stand there and say a few choice words about this kid of his.  He certainly could fold his arms and start fuming inside remembering how this kid basically insulted him, almost desiring his death so that the kid could get his hands on the money.  But what does he do?

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him."

That was just the start of the Father's forgiveness.  And it's an exact picture of God's forgiveness when we have a humble heart before Him.

Get out there and ENJOY your week!!! Brad Zinnecker

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2019 Week 9 Review: TrailsRoc 7th Birthday, My Facebook Rant, Weekly Stats, Trail Running Tip

7th Birthday TrailsRoc Group pic, courtesy of Chris O'Brien. A good week, though mileage is still not super high, I got out for fo...