Weekends usually fly by, but this past weekend went especially fast. I can’t believe that I woke up this morning in New Hampshire!
I headed to Bretton Woods Friday after work with my cousins, Mike and Zuz, and my friend Danielle. D and I were signed up to do a race Saturday, and Mike and Z were eager to do some skiing, so we split a hotel room and made a weekend of it. I’m so glad that we did. I tend to get bogged down in thinking about the things that I should do- laundry, hang curtains, etc. and was thinking last week that it might be better to stay in town. But getting away was actually great- I came home feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.
I can’t remember how I learned about the New England Winter Wild series, but as soon as I did I knew I wanted to do it. The races take place at ski areas throughout the winter, and the races go up and down the mountain. They seemed like the perfect way to put my #weatherproof and #hillsforbreakfast training t0 the test. Danielle, always up for an adventure, agreed.
Still, when the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. Saturday I questioned my judgment. It was still dark when we arrived at the mountain, and a balmy 35 degrees.
There are several ways you can tackle the Winter Wild races. They have categories for cross country, AT, and “full metal” (ie traditional alpine ski gear), as well as snowshoes and Yaktrax. D and I kept it simple and opted for Yaktrax. I guess we could have gone “full metal” but that seemed torturous.
Before we knew it a guy was yelling into a bullhorn and we were off, running past dormant chair lifts and up a ski trail. I think I ran about 100 feet before I realized that if I stopped and walked I could go faster. The snow was soft and kind of slippery, and the trail was a lot steeper than the typical hills I run (I was later mortified to discover this was a green trail. I thought for sure it was blue).
We could see the top of the chairlift, and I kept my eye on it as I made my way up the trail. When we got there, we started running, only to discover that there was more uphill. Bummer! We kept on, and I was super excited to be keeping up with a girl on skins. Finally, after 31 minutes, 1,500 feet of elevation and 1.5 miles of trail, we were at the top.
The first bit down wasn’t much easier. My legs were heavy, and the trail was steep. I took my time in spots, not wanting to roll an ankle or break a knee. But after a while it flattened out, and I started to feel a lot better. By this point the racers had really spread out, and D and I were running alone down a snow-covered trail canopied by evergreen trees. We felt like the only ones in the race.
The end came quicker than we thought- two miles, and 18 minutes of running later. We crossed the finish just under the 50-minute mark.
We stood around the finish for a while, but eventually headed into the lodge to warm up. There were bagels and nutella, and a raffle where I won some beer from 603 brewery. As part of the race, Bretton Woods sold us lift tickets for $25, so after heading to the hotel for a shower and change, we met up with Mike and Z and did some of the best skiing I’ve done this year. It was the perfect end to the ski season.
Though the Winter Wild series is finished, the group that puts it on also runs the Western New Hampshire trail running series. I may have to give one of these a go…
The race ended what turned out to be a slower than normal week of training. I woke up with a cold last week that left me pretty miserable Monday and Tuesday, and set me back a bit.
Wednesday: stadium. 30 sections
Thursday: yoga, 60 minute spin, 3 mile run (brick)
Friday: 6 mile run
Saturday: 3.4 mile run, ski
Total: run 12.4 miles, spin 60 minutes
Not what I’d hoped for… This week, my goal is to get back on track: run 20 miles, spin at least twice, and get a swim session in.
What’s the best non-traditional race you’ve competed in?