Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Snowshoe Nationals & Other Different Things

This winter has been a time for me to recharge. After a bad start to the year I chose to take a step back and not take life so seriously. This resulted in me doing quite a few things out of the ordinary.
Let me start with the most recent.

Snowshoe National Championships

Photo: Joe Viger
Yes, it's true I became a snowshoer.  I've still only been on snowshoes three times, with one time being the national championship. It all started because Bend was to host the 2013 national snowshoe championships. If you know Bend this is not surprising because in the last couple years they've held many national championships, including:
  • USATF 50k Trail National Championships
  • USATF Half-Marathon Trail National Championships
  • XTERRA Trail Run Championships
  • USA Cycling Masters Road Championships
  • USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike Championships
  • USA Cycling Junior, U23, and Elite Road National Championships
  • USA Cyclo-Cross National Championships
  • US Flyfishing National Championships
  • National Beard and Moustach Championships
  • National Snowshoe Championships
So it didn't really surprise me when I heard that Bend was hosting yet ANOTHER national championship this winter. I wasn't, however, expecting to race- that I got roped into. We'll just say that Richard Bolt can be convincing :) It made sense to try though since the race was in my own backyard this year. There were only two problems, 1) I didn't have snowshoes, and 2) I needed to qualify. Apparently Richard had answers for those questions too- I borrowed some Dion demo snowshoes and they were planning to hold a last minute qualifier race in Bend two weeks before nationals to give another opportunity to qualify. Since I like a challenge and it sounded like a crazy idea I decided I was in.  The day before the qualifier race I tried out my snowshoes. I did a 3 mile loop with Andrew Jensen, who was RD for the race. Not too bad I thought- just like running but WAY slower. So the next day with little practice under my belt I attempted my first race. It actually went better than I thought. The course was two-5k loops at Meissner that included quite a bit of climbing. Uphill running is really my specialty, so it suited me well.  It wasn't a big field of racers, but men and women started together so I got to chase Max King and Mario Mendozza (two of my runner friends also from Bend) until they dropped me. I finished in just under an hour...third overall behind Mario and Max. An hour for a 10k!? Yep, just like running but very slow. Nationals was two weekend later, and I did not touch my snowshoes in between at all. I figured running was similar enough and I'd been sick for over a week with a bad cold turned sinus infection. Good excuses, right? The morning of nationals I went up early to Meissner to catch the men's race. Mario was racing and I knew he had a good chance to place very well.  Out on the course I ran into Brandi Erholtz, who I was excited to see! She is a two-time past snowshoe national champ and a very accomplished runner. We've run against each other a few times and she is one of the nicest gals I know. It was nice to see that so many racers had traveled to Bend for this event.

The women's race started at 11:30, meaning the snow was soft and I was hungry because it was lunch time. Tough time of day to race in my opinion. We started off and I surprisingly took the lead before we started the first big climb. That wasn't part of plan to relax, but I decided to go with it. I was moving well up the climbs and trying to stay on my feet on the downhills. I was actually having quite a bit of fun sliding down the backside of the hill. I came through the first loop with just over a minute lead and extended it to a 2-minute lead over the next loop. I came through the finish in first, smiling the whole time. It was cool to finish so well with my limited experience on snowshoes and in my hometown. Now I'm officially on the National Snowshoe Team :) Now onto retirement...

 The next day I flew to Kauai for a 9-day photo shoot with The North Face. I am totally psyched for warm weather and to hang out with some cool people. It's a much needed break and I am SO stoked to be here!
Waimea Canyon, Kauai

North Shore Kauai

 Other fun/different things I did recently:

  •  Nordic Ski Racing. I decided to race the Boulder Mountain Tour, a 30k skate race in Sun Valley, ID. I've done this race a couple times in the past when I was nordic ski racing more seriously. It was always a weekend I enjoyed because, hey you get to spend the weekend in Sun Valley! Things on my agenda for this trip were ski in the sunshine, do some shopping, drink some wine, and spend some time with the Max family. Sarah Max has been one of my closest training partner/friends over the past few years and we've been on a few trips together. Its always fun to spend time with Sarah, her husband Kevin, and her twin girls Fiona and Izzy. We had a blast over the weekend and the race went better than I expected. I surprised myself by finishing 10th, in a pack of skiers that I used to race near when I actually was training for skiing. It was great! Although, I did lose the sprint to the finish line- I'll have to work on that next time. 
  •  Jillian Visits. My cousin from Minnesota came out to visit me for TWO WEEKS! I was so excited to have her come and stay with me. We've been talking about it for a long time, so it was great to finally make it happen. Jillian and I are very similar people, so it was easy to integrate her into my daily life. We spent a lot of time running, baking, and drinking wine together. I think we thoroughly convinced Jillian of how great Bend is. I expect. To see her again soon :) 

Jillian and I
  •  Fun Photo Shoot. Once again I was honored to earn the title of Bend's Hottest Athlete in The Source Weekly's annual Lust List. This year though I got to do a cool photo shoot with a fun photographer. We had a blast and he got some good photos.

Photo: Ian smythe
Photo: Ian Smythe
The Source Weekly
  • Treadmill Races. I hate treadmills. But I guess they are more fun when you are racing head to head against someone with a room full of people cheering. Footzone organized a series of head to head treadmill races with some of the best runners in Bend. The goal was to see who ran the furtherest in 10 minutes running at a 15% grade. Not easy, especially since I had to race Renee! 
Lots of spectators cheering us on!

Photo: Jill Rosell