Race Up The Snake

When I signed up for Race Up the Snake, I knew it wouldn’t be an “A” race. It’s six weeks before the race I’m targeting – the Deception Pass HM – and I was primarily interested in having fun & getting in a good workout. I had Friday afternoon off, so I decided to go pre-“run” the course, but because the race director warned about the snowy conditions I wore my snow boots & walked almost the entire way.

I’m glad I went out there Friday, even though it meant I’d be a little tired during the race. I figured I’d take pictures on Friday so I wouldn’t have to make as many stops during the race. The only problem with that was the conditions were radically different on Saturday.

On Friday, there was a fair amount of bare ground. It was still striking, as the wind has created a lot of drifts. Where there was snow, it was fairly easy to navigate: by staying in the center of track, between the wheel ruts, I was only in an inch or two of snow. Not fast, but definitely easier than the calf-deep snow in the ruts.

I didn’t go up the Mountain Goat Challenge on Friday. That was a very wise choice, as I fear it would have worn me out too much. (My legs were pretty unhappy during the race Saturday.) Here’s what it looked like on Friday:

The track is to the right of the fence line in the upper right corner. (The time & distance are from Friday.)

And then another storm came in… Saturday was very different. It was snowing & windy. The entire track was covered in snow, and running on the center between the wheel ruts wasn’t guaranteed to make it easier. Places that were fairly easy to pass on Friday were more treacherous; in one spot, I feared slipping off the trail & into a small ravine. And then came the Mountain Goat Challenge…

The wind in the area of the hill was beastly cold. I began to fear getting frostbite on my ear. Despite wearing gloves and generating plenty of heat, my fingers began to hurt. Climbing up the hill was incredibly slow, and making it to the top only meant I got to head back down hill – a steep, snow-covered & icy hill. On my way up, I saw one person who’d fallen several times sit down & slide down the hill. That’s how steep & how slick it was. Before I headed down, I put YakTrax on my shoes with the help of one of the volunteers, and I was really grateful for the poles I’d brought with me.

A few people passed me on the way down, and I finished nearly dead last. And I was faster last year, despite the fact I wakled the entire course last year.

As predicted, my legs were pretty wiped out by the end of the race, and they’re not much happier now. I spent an hour clearing a month’s worth of snow from our sidewalk yesterday afternoon, and this morning I swam for a bit to shake out the legs. I’m heading to the club now to do tonight’s workout. I hate treadmills, but I don’t feel like being cold right now. I expect this workout to hurt, so it’ll be interesting to see if I can actually do it. (The legs can – it’s my mind that’s weak.)


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