Last weekend Chris and I took part in the White Rabbit Snowshoe race. We did this event 2 years ago (last year of course I had to sit out because of my ankle sprain). It's such a fabulously organized event so I was happy to be back again at Crystal Mountain.
It's a super small event - 2011 there were around 30 participants and this year it was around 50. I've never taken part in anything this small, so maybe this is why I love it so much. It's so personal. At the end everyone huddles around for the prize ceremony (this in itself is unusual for me - I don't think I've ever stayed for a prize ceremony before, but at White Rabbit everybody does - it's part of the event!) And the organizers do an incredible job of collecting sponsorship - everyone gets a prize in the draw that has been generously donated by local businesses - Chris walked away with a $25 giftcard to our favourite local outdoor outfitter and I won a snowshoe tote which is particularly awesome since I didn't have one and it's super nifty!
Race entry is a mere $25, which includes a one-use lift pass to get to the top of the mountain for the start of the 5km race which we were doing. You could wear your warm stuff to the start and they provided stuff sacks, and a shuttle service to bring it back down the mountain for you to collect at the end! There was even a water stop along the route (that had ice crystals in it by the time we got to it!!), plus a few cameras snapping our progress - maybe we'll appear in some local newspaper or other - who knows?!
What I do find amazing is that despite a 5 minute ski lift ride to the 'top' of the mountain I still felt we did a fair amount of uphill in the first couple of kms - how is that even possible?!! The small pack of runners spread out really quickly - within the first few minutes we could see no-one in front of us, and just 3 or 4 behind us. Around the half way point a lady passed us, letting us know we were half way done - and after the initial start line shuffle she was the only one to pass us for the rest of the distance. After the half way point it really was all downhill so Chris and I picked up a fair pace. The last half a km it levelled out - and by that point I was so used to the gravity-assisted running that the flat felt like an uphill again - of course it wasn't but we were pretty spent by then. All that kept me going was the incentive from behind - a woman who had been on our heels the whole race - we'd gained a tiny bit of an advantage in the downhill but she was back in sight again - so we pushed on and crossed the finish line holding hands!! (we thanked her later for her motivational push - and it seems that we'd dragged her along just as much as she'd pushed us - isn't it fun when you get to chat to people like that after a race!?)
I was pretty pleased with my 5th place finish. What I was even more impressed with was beating my time from 2 years ago by 15 minutes!! This year we crossed the finish line in 47:44. Despite a distinct lack of training this winter I felt able to really push myself, and honestly I can't always say that. I often just settle into a comfort-zone and don't really push much beyond that - this race I felt a bit more like I did. I felt it later - maybe the little altitude and the crisp, cold air coursing through me but I was pretty wheezy and short of breath for the rest of the day - but still - I felt like I'd worked for it and not being able to breathe was just battle scars - right?! Seriously 15 minute improvement?!! Heck - yes!!
I'm not entirely sure if this really counts towards my first race for the 13in2013 challenge, but not to worry since I'm confident I've got plenty more eligible races in the coming 11 months! Looking forward to getting back out there and start training.....soon!
I'm linking up today to Jill's Fitness Friday blog link-up.