Pssst, hey Ottawa/Gatineau outdoor enthusiasts/runners/snowshoers – where were you this morning? We missed you out at The Ark in Denholm, Quebec… It was a fine morning for a snowshoe romp through the woods with a great gang of folks. Oh well, this only meant more pasta, potato chips, world-famous brownies, beer and hot chocolate for the rest of us!
Yes, this morning saw a return to the famous Ark for the last in the Atlas Mad Trapper snowshoe race series. With the crazy rain yesterday, I really didn’t know what to expect with the drive and the course conditions. The drive was largely uneventful, save for the two deer who I caught by surprise on the gravel ice road – luckily they scampered away… The snow conditions could be called – soft, granular, coarse, and darned hard. The atmosphere at the Ark was very positive with lots of great chatter, smiles and laughs. Throw in the tasty brownies and the hearty pasta and the event/morning was a huge pile of fun.
As for the race itself? Well, there weren’t large numbers today. Maybe folks were stuck in their basements riding their bikes or simply decided to leave the fun to the rest of us? Regardless, the group that was out was an excellent one. As always happens at these Mad Trapper events, there are lots of opportunities to chat with friends, meet new people and to tell stories about the events that happened during the race.
So, back to the race… Well, initially I wasn’t that happy with my effort. I felt sluggish and was missing that extra gear. You know that feeling when you can’t seem to go deep enough to get the satisfying burring lungs and legs? That’s how I felt today. Ah well, in the end my run time was similar to my previous two races and after downloading my data from my Garmin 220, I see that my heart rate was pretty high and steady for the duration.
But really, the race itself is such a small part of the entire event. Yes, the personal challenge and the event itself are a big part of it, but an equally big part of the event is the people. I find everyone to be super friendly and supportive. Post-race, is all about hanging out with cool dudes and playing the “finger game” in an attempt to win one of the generously donated draw prizes.
To sum it up – it was fun. I’m really glad I did all three snowshoe races this season. Next year, I’ve committed to Dave and Laco that I’ll step up and do the 10 km races (this year I did 5 km)… Huge thanks to Mike and Monique for organizing the races, for cooking up some awesome food and for letting us come on over and play in the snow.
(P.S. if you’re new to snowshoe running and this was your first or second time out – you definitely have to come on out on Wednesday evening with the Natural Fitness Lab gang. We run every week in the Gatineau Park, chasing down our fearless leader… You can’t beat running under the stars with a headlamp to guide you along the way.)
(P.P.S I took a post-race epsom salt bath (TMI?) and during this hot and steamy bath I read the latest issue of Trail Runner magazine and now I know what I want to do in 2016… XTERRA Trail Run World Championships in Hawaii. Who is in? Note – anyone can do this race and who doesn’t want to go to Hawaii…)