Monday, December 17, 2007

Looking Ahead - My 2008 Race Schedule

Here's how things are looking for 2008 racing. If you've been reading you may know that I'll be trying something new in '08...ultrarunning. I've added a couple more ultras in my buildup to the 100K in June. So, it looks like running will dominate my early season racing, and triathlon will take over later in the season.

So, the plan for '08 is looking something like this:

April 12 - Chippewa Moraine 50K Trail Run
May 10 - Ice Age Trail 50 Mile Trail Run
June 7 - Kettle Moraine 100K Trail Run
July 20 - Door County Half Iron Triathlon
September 7 - Ironman Wisconsin

So, that's one whole sport I've never tried before, four new races I've never experienced, and one rather familiar event to cap things off. I'm really looking forward to seeing how things go.

If '08 goes well, look for a 100 mile run on the agenda for '09 ;-)

-Steve

Trail Running + Snow = Snowshoe Running!

My training plan called for a 2 hour 15 minute run yesterday, we got several inches of fresh snow the day before, and I didn't feel like doing my run on the pavement. All that added up to me calling around to find some snowshoes. I'd been wanting some anyway just for this sort of occasion. I found a ski shop nearby that carried a line of snowshoes, so I headed there and picked up a pair that looked like they'd work well for running (Redfeather Trek 25)...not too big, not too heavy, with a narrow tail.

I headed to the park in town where I've been doing most of my trail running. I ran there last weekend on packed snow with just my running shoes and some small steel spikes (by Surefoot) but that wasn't going to work very well in six inches of fresh powder. I strapped on the snowshoes and I was off. It was a bit awkward for the first 10 minutes or so, but not quite as awkward as I'd imagined. I had to lift my knees a little higher with each stride, and widen my stance a bit to keep from clunking my snowshoes together. But, it was certainly a much shorter learning curve than, say, cross country skiing. It was hard work, at a much slower pace than I'm used to, but I was having fun. By contrast to running on the snow in shoes where I have to stick only to trails that are hard packed, I loved the feeling of freedom to wander on trails still covered in fresh powder.

I think I saw more people out on the trails in the snow than I'd ever seen before...cross country skiers, hikers, and a few teenagers trying to sled and snowboard down a steep narrow singletrack trail without dying. But, it seemed I was the only one out there running in snowshoes, and it struck up some curious looks and conversations. Even the group of teenagers asked some genuinely curious questions about snowshoe running.

By the end of my run, it was dark enough to need a headlamp (so I guess this was also my first experience with night snowshoe running, too), and it was getting pretty cold, and I was pretty well wiped out. But it was that really good kind of tired. The kind where you feel a little more alive than you did when you started.

It's a big world, but sometimes you don't have to go far to find something new...and cool. Get out there and find it!

-Steve