A collection of personal thoughts and experiences - mostly centered around running.
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!