Sunday, January 9, 2011

Frozen Sasquatch 2011

2010 Sasquatch: Photo Dan Lehmann
The 2011 edition of the Frozen Sasquatch 50K was much like 2010 - only with a few difference.  It was once again cold (not as it was in 2010 though) and there was snow (a bit more than last year).  With temperature reaching 60 degrees last week, I thought we might be poised for some dirt (or mud) running for the race weekend.  What a difference a week made though.  As if on queue, the snow and cold rolled in just in time to add to the difficulty of this New Year's staple.

Last year it was around 16 degrees with about 1-2" of crusted snow.  This year we were greeted with temperatures around 23 degrees and around 4" of slick, wet snow.  The start was like that of many others - people bolting to the front of the pack that shortly are reminded of their inability to sustain their position.  I ran along and chatted with Michael Owen and Gancho Slavov in the early miles as we were boxed in behind some of the overzealous culprits.  I knew these speedsters would quickly pull away as I had no intentions of trying to match their pace on this day.  With that AT  and my necessary training looming, I planned to keep my effort controlled.

As open ground was found, we all settled into a pace to distance ourselves from the pack.  My presence in their company was short lived.  I slowed to remove an outer layer to prevent excessive sweating and decided that it would be a good point to institute my plan of running fairly easy on this day.  I enjoyed the company of several 25K runners on the remainder of the loop and time passed quickly as we were slipping and sliding up and down the hills.  I'm not sure what time I came through the half-way point since I didn't even bother to start my watch, but I made the decision to throw on my newly acquired microspikes for the second loop.  After two or three all-out falls and slips too many to count, I was looking for a little more assurance on the second time around.  The microspikes worked like a charm on all the descents, but were a bit of a pain on some of the more rocky or gravel-strewn flat sections.  I ended up doing quite a bit of switching on and off as the conditions dictated.  This was annoying, but the effort was certainly worth the extra stability for climbs and descents. 

2011 Sasquatch: Photo Dan Lehmann
The second loop did not pass nearly as quickly as the first.  It felt more like a lonely training run than a race.  As always though, I enjoyed the solitude of a days run on the trails.  I lallygagged a bit more than usual at the aid-stations and enjoyed some good soup and conversation with some of the aid volunteers.  It's rough running in these conditions, but it's even harder to stand out there for hours on end!

Finally I quit dawdling and decided to push it in for the finish.  My time was 5:12 (as opposed to 4:34 last year) and I'd like to say it was easy. . . it was not.  Running in the snow is always much harder than on dry ground and my supporting muscles were pretty cooked from the constant slipping.  Snow just is not my thing; never has been, never will be.  I was happy to be done for the day and grateful for another great run.  Many, many thanks to RD Mike Dolin for all his work directing this race, Dan Lehmann for the timing duties, and all those hearty volunteers for braving the snow and cold to help all of us loonies!

Post-race thawing: Photo Brock Nichols


  1. Looks and sounds like everybody had a good time! We're a couple months away from running in such "balmy" conditions! Hope your training continues to stay on course Adam - best of luck with your 2011 goals!

  2. Corey,
    Keep that cold stuff up in MN where it belongs. . . I'm ready for spring!

  3. So much fun out there playing in the snow. I am in total agreement with you about running in the snow. I am sore and tired, but I just so enjoy Sasquatch. For two years now, it is something I look forward to, but maybe the 3rd year we will see something brown. Great to see you and Kadra.

  4. Rick - I hope you had a wonderful birthday! Lookout grand-masters, here comes Rick Gray!

  5. greetings from disney!!! :oP me too! snow is not my thing! I felt so SLOW out there. I just try to tell myself that winter running is going to help me have a FUN spring:o)
    it was great to see you and Kadra! I'm so excited about your AT adventure and I feel you are extremely wise to have that for your focus.
    I agree about the volunteers! SUCH AWESOME PEOPLE to stand out there in the cold, and be so consistently positive and happy! WVMTR is an amazing group!
    Thanks so much for all your encouragement! I'm trying to improve! :o) it's a journey for sure, but one I'm really enjoying! :o)
    take care and see you soon!!


    the kids are dying to get out the door! and see the sites.. oh, and brock's mom was released from the hospital, so hopefully her bout with pancreatitis is over.. thanks so much for your thoughts and prayers! that was so crazy and random for his mom she is very active and healthy she goes the the gym 5 days a week and plays golf and never gets sick.

  6. Jenny - that is great news! You guys have fun and enjoy a little reprieve from winter.

  7. Nice talking with you the other day Adam. Send me that AT itinerary, as I am very interested in trying to run a little section with you. I am looking forward to following your progress!

  8. Adam, good seeing you guys again. Kadra was CLUTCH at the midway aid station. Huge help. I ran about 9 miles of the course today to PULL down Flagging, it was crazy slippery. I may check out those Microspikes....

  9. Dolin - I'm glad you could get some use out of Kadra :)
    Microspikes are the trick for icy and/or packed trails. Thanks for everything man!

  10. Adam I wish I could dawdle and run as fast as you! I dawdled, but it wasn't on purpose.

    Are the Microspikes plastic, like the Get-A-Grip slip on plastic spikes?

  11. Tony - the microspikes are metal "chains" on the bottom held to the shoes on top by a rubber loop. Check them out:
    They're heavy, but certainly give you solid footing in the snow and ice.