Thursday, March 13, 2014

2014 US Snowshoe Nationals Race Recap

We had a great time at Nationals this year out in Vermont.  Not only was it a killer course but the ground crew put on a great weekend.  We had a bigger field of international athletes than I've seen in quite a while so the race started fast and furious and pretty much stayed that way.  Two Canadians went straight to the front and I went with them.  Within the first 1000 meters the race spread out quickly and I found myself working pretty hard to stay up with the two front-runners and so was alone in third quite quickly.  My goal has been and continues to be to win a National Championship but I will probably always over-ride that goal with racing whomever shows up whether from the US or not.
That being said, Eric Hartmark, 2-time National Champ, ran the smarter race by running within himself and slowly but surely made his way up to the front as 1 through 4 finished with a good gap on the rest of the field.
The course started in a frenzy with two steep climbs and allowed the race to thin out quickly.  The pace stayed frantic for most of the race and right before mile 2 we headed up a 6% climb that lasted a mile.  As I tried to grind through that section I could tell I was cooking the goose a little faster than I'd hoped but the two Canadians were starting to pull away just a bit.  By 4K I was a hurting unit and finished the last 6K of the race with a side cramp that wouldn't go away.  With hills up and down, single track through the woods, and plenty of groomed ski trail to pass on, this year's Nationals course was one of my favorites of all-time.  As Eric pulled up to me and then made his way past I tried to summon the reserve to stay with him up over the top of the big climb but I didn't manage it.  He continued to run an awesome race and finished 17 seconds ahead in 3rd place but also in the US National Champion's spot.  This marks my 3rd Runner Up finish at Nationals.  Back to the drawing board?  Kind of...
Sarah and I worked hard to design a training plan that was challenging, fun, and helped us get fit and stay healthy at the same time.  Therefore, I didn't over-push any one workout and felt that my fitness going into Nationals was as good as it could be but not as good as it should be a year from now.  I turn 40 in July and really do hope to find myself in a similar spot next year at Nationals... with a chance to win it if I can.  Hopefully next year, the fitness will be a bit bigger than this years and then we'll see if I can finally find the top step on the podium.  No matter, training has been incredibly fun and continues to keep me coming back for more.  No for some summer trail racing.

2 comments:

  1. Congrats on an impressive finish at Nationals. I was two places back, but had a great time and am looking forward to next year already. That was my second snowshoe race and I'm hooked. Good luck with your summer endeavors and enjoy turning 40, you'll find yourself at the top of the Masters' group, I'd imagine!

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  2. Great job Scott. Keeping it fun and performing at the top level of the sport.

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