We woke up early to make the 2 and a half hour drive to the race. The rain overnight had melted all the snow in Cambridge, so we were expecting to see increasingly more snow as we drove closer to the race site. Nope. The neighbouring farmer's fields right beside Ganaraska forest were completely clear. Greg and I couldn't believe that there was enough snow for snowshoes. But there was. Inside the forest the snow was abundant. Most was deep, packing snow, but in some spots it was the kind of snow that's so much fun as a kid - the snow that you step in and it splashes apart and gooey, slushy-mush is underneath. The deeper snow was harder to race in than the last race, but I was just glad that there was enough snow for a race, because I knew that I wouldn't be wearing my snowshoes again back home for a while.
The race course was beautiful. 8 kilometers of heavily forested trails. It was single track for the first part, but widened for the majority of the snowshoe trail loop. I ran with Greg, and the lead female runner, and another runner for the first 2k. Greg decided to pull ahead, so I followed. The trails were rolling, with a large climb in the middle of the race. It was a tough climb. I slowed right down and worked hard to get up it with any kind of speed. It was nice to only have to do that climb once :) I had the 4th place male runner in sight for most of the race. We would switch positions and I would take the lead (mostly on the downhills - which I run like an animal), and he would pull ahead on the ups. It was nice to have someone to run with and I could stick to him. He slowly pulled ahead at about 6k. Since 2k, I knew I had the female lead in the race. I was pushing as hard as I could go, and hoping to hold my lead, knowing the 2nd place female runner was a very strong competitor. I was approached in the last 200m by another runner. I was relieved that it was a male runner, but I also didn't want to lose a position at the end of the race, so I pushed again and ran with him. We crossed the line at the same time - he squeeked ahead of me by 0.7 of a second. I thanked him after for the push at the end. I finished in 6th position overall, and first female! Greg had his best race of the season too -placing 3rd overall. Those were fun results to text to my coach Derrick Spafford. Full results can be found here: http://healthandadventure.com/2016/02/dion-ganaraska-forest-snowshoe-race-results/
|The top 3 at the Dion Ganaraska Snowshoe race - Greg, Justin, and Gonzalo|
|Me, at the awards presentation with RD Joe Turner|
|Greg getting his granola from Joe :)|
Dion Snowshoes which you can order in Canada through Spafford Health and Adventure's Online Store, and to CLIF Bar for your delicious CLIF bars, CLIF shots, CLIF Bloks, and CLIF Builder's protein bars that I use during my training and racing. Thanks to my coach Derrick Spafford for helping me prepare for the race. Thanks to Greg for sharing another great race with me - I always try to catch him, but he keeps getting away! And huge thanks to my parents for having "Sleepovers at Grandma's" which the girls look forward to. Thank you very much.