Last year around this time, I was super nervous because I had registered for The Mad Trapper Atlas Snowshoe Race – I stressed over the race and convinced myself I’d be last and everyone there would be uber-athletes… Well, these suspicions were completely way-off – while there were some uber-athletes in attendance, most folks were normal regular put their pants on one-leg-at-a-time people and I had a blast running around in the snow. In fact it was that race that convinced me to attend the Natural Fitness Lab Wednesday night snowshoe runs.
So this year when the dates were announced for The Mad Trapper series, I was in 100% and pre-registered for the three snowshoe races (there was a race earlier in the year but I was away). Everything was running along smoothly until this morning. I woke up this morning with mega-butterflies in my belly. Race jitters and nerves like I haven’t had in a very long time. Weird – I couldn’t figure out why I would be nervous – it wasn’t like I was going to win or that I didn’t know what to expect.
Thanks to the snowshoe running, trail running and skiing, I’ve met some really great people and these friends helped me calm down and remind me that this snowshoe racing is all about fun. The pre-race vibe was typical for a Mad Trapper event – low-key and very chillaxed. We hung out with the dogs, cat and alpacas in the Ark while most people debated what to wear for our impending run in the woods.
Once the race got started it was like old times. The hills that I had blocked from my memory were suddenly back with a vengeance. And the fast fun descents were just as much fun as I remembered them. But one thing was different for me this year. My crazy brain was heckling me big-time. Yes, things like “oh man, I’m so slow. I’m never going to get fit again” and “I don’t know if I can make it” were being said. But luckily I’ve been down this trail before and I think I kind of knew old crazy brain would show up…
So I reminded myself that the only way I was going to get any better was to keep doing these events and to top it off, regardless of what level of fitness I achieve – I’ll always want more. And with these two lessons firmly planted in my somewhat-less crazy brain, I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. I took it steady on the uphills (i.e. I walked) and on the semi-flats and descents I let my legs turn over as fast as I could.
My legs ached. I had a sharp pain under my right rib cage. I was breathing as if I was having an asthma attack. But I was smiling. So thanks to The Mad Trapper for the lessons out there today. I needed this time in the woods to push the crazy brain to the background and to remember that is ultimately all about having fun and being out there.