Mountain Running at Winter Wild
Round 2 of Winter Wild has left me exhausted but in the perfect way. My body is definitely sore today and I am sure tomorrow will be worse (as day number 2 always is). I feel as though I have lost some ability to bend me legs and can feel all of the ligaments and tendons, in my feet, ankles, shins, hips, quads, hamstrings, buns . . .did I leave anything out? Oh yes, my arms too. And in the words of my friend Bridget, “I may need to go home and put BENGAY all over.
Sounds like fun right? Plus we got up at 4 a.m. to get to the race.
The answer is, “Yes!!!! And I can’t wait to go back for more in two weeks at Pats Peak in Henniker, NH.
At the beginning of each race the race director of Winter Wild Chad Denning says, “This is the most fun you will have running uphill!” I agree and apparently so do all of the other crazy people racing at sunrise during these races.
The morning was perfect at Ragged Mountain. About 26 degrees. A couple of inches of light fresh snow which had been freshly groomed. Running on “corduroy” was much better than running on the loose fluff at the last race. Due to the lack of a “real” winter here this year the course had been modified so instead of being a more gentle climb than the last race we ran straight up “Exhibition.”
The climb seemed to go on forever. This is mountain running you know! I ran the first bit and then just focused on keeping my arms moving and powering up the mountain and tried to maintain a steady pace. There are some fierce competitors at these races (because who else but a bunch of psychos would be out on the mountain) and I am amazed at the powerful women that are racing. I worked hard on the way up to stay with the few women surrounding me. Finally reaching the summit we passed a ski patrolman and another mountain worker who I overheard discussing the runners/races. The ski patrolman said, “I just don’t get this” as he watched us pass by barely catching enough air to continue on.
As you reach the top in a total anaerobic state you have to completely switch gears to get ready for the swift downhill descent. I was still with a couple of women when we got to the top and then I just tried to “let go”. Running down with my spikes digging in I could feel the snow sliding out from under my shoes. Wind rushing, heart racing, practically gasping to catch my breath. Each mini drop in the slope brought new speed and I basically felt like I was right on the edge of completely out of control. It’s always great when you find your “other gear.” When I reached the finish line I was completely winded, my muscles were trembling. It was an amazing rush.
I am super psyched too as I came in 4th in my age group for 30-39 and currently stand in 3rd place for the series so far.
Totally worth it and the soreness is nothing a little mountain running can’t cure!
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