What a great weekend I had. I flew out late Friday night, and mom and dad picked me up at the Portland airport in the rental car. They had arrived an hour ahead of me. We stopped at great little family owned restaurant on the way up to Timberline Lodge. This lodge is the coolest place EVER. If you ever get a chance to stay there, it's a MUST SEE. The lodge was built in the 30's by the WPA. Every ounce of the lodge is hand crafted, and it's amazing.
We had a hot toddy and hit the feathers. And I MEAN feathers, all the beds at the lodge are feather beds. Talk about divine, I wanted to take the bed, and the pillows, and the blankets home, it was the most comfortable nights rest I have ever had.
The next morning we got up, had a great breakfast and explored around the lodge. In the late morning we got suited up to brave the cold and headed over to the race site. The course had just been marked so I popped in the iPod and ran the course. It's a two loop course, so I just did the loop once. Dad scouted spots to take pictures, and mom went for a snowshoe hike along the course as well. Everyone got a little exercise, and we were ready to head back to the lodge to relax.
We hung out next to these huge windows in the lodge and took it all in. It was stormy and windy. I was so happy to be relaxing on a warm couch, with some spiked hot cocoa. Several hours went by and we had lofty intentions of attending the Meet and Greet for the racers down in the town. Well, we just couldn't pry ourselves away. So, we skipped it and had another drink!
Dinner that night was awesome, gourmet, gourmet! After that I watched Running the Sahara on my iPhone and hit the hay.
Race morning came too soon, and the time change cut into my blissful sleep. Only 10 hours the night before! We headed to the race site after dad DUG out the car, and I watched. He He!
Steve and I had talked about me going out in the #1 or #2 spot in the race. It's a very difficult course to pass on, and we wanted to make sure that I controlled the race from the front. I actually executed the exact race plan we talked about. I went out in second. The girl in first took off and was never to be seen again. She was killing it. I slowed to a pace that was comfortable for me, and I thought that someone behind me might yell "track" and want to pass, but nope. I went my own pace and I felt the other racers right on my tail, but I just stuck to my plan. When the downhill started on the first loop I let it go. I gapped the third place girl and went into loop two with a 10 second gap on her. But, she caught right back up to me on the uphill. I just settled into my own rhythm and I continued to wonder when she would want to pass. I assumed at the top of the hill she would pass but nope. We went into the downhill and I opened up the gap again.
Then the drama started. I fell down. Boom, face plant. Doh. Well, that happens all the time to me, especially when I am running fast. I get back up, and 30 seconds later I eat it again. This time my shirt is around my neck and I get up fast, start running, and start pulling down my shirt, but not before I eat it again. This time with an exposed belly. I get up from that one, pull my shirt down and continue on. Another minute goes by and boom, I go down again. I was flustered and had to tell myself to "calm down", "pull in your core", "lift your knees", "don't do that again". I regain my balance and slow down a little and as I'm going up this little hill I see TWO ladies on my tail. Uh Oh, these falls have allowed them to close the gap. I'm not ready for a showdown, but I know its going to happen.
I round the last turn and I see my dad, he's yelling at me "She's hot on your tail" and he sees that I don't really respond. She is making her move and in a quite delayed fashion I pick it up, put on my move and pull away. We are three seconds apart in the results, and the fourth place lady is just a few seconds after that.
So, I was able to hold onto second, and I was ecstatic. I really enjoyed being on the National Snowshoe Team last year, and I am really excited to continue to remain on the team. Executing my race goals felt wonderful, I felt strong, and steady and oddly (I guess due to the time of year and high mileage) I felt I could have done several more laps of the course at a similar pace. My base feels deep right now. The speed will start coming soon.
The rest of the day was a great awards ceremony and raffle where I won a sweet pair of Kahtoola MICROSpikes. I have been eying these for some time since I have completely worn out my YakTraks.
Great Race, Great Day. A big thanks to Mom and Dad!!! And to Troy!! And To Steve-O!!
Here's the video I took. If you can't view it, you can try this link, or you can go to YouTube and search for "swieck". You'll find it under there called Snowshoe Nationals. Happy Viewing!