Amy, me, and Laura at the post race lunch.shapeimage_123.jpg Me, Laura, and Amy at the starting line shapeimage_420.jpg Me on the podium! I’m in the red hat. img_1411.jpg Skies were blue and the temps were low for the final race in the Beaver Creek Snowshoe Adventure Series. We headed up to the Keystone area on Thursday night to stay in a condo that Laura had rented for all of us (thank you again Laura...many times over). The drive was easy on a Thursday night and Annie did great. We stopped at this awesome bakery in Silver Plume on the way called Sopp and Truscott. I highly recommend it! It is total mom and pop, all the bread is home made and the cookies are TO DIE FOR! It’s well worth the side trip. Friday the ladies stayed home in the condo with the kiddos and all the men went skiing. Troy had a GREAT time, although the temps were frostbite low (literally, Troy lost the skin on the tips of his fingers).

Saturday was the ladies turn to play! Laura and I left the condo at 8:30am and met Amy at the bottom of the lift at 9:45. We traveled up two lifts together, positively giddy, happy to be together and raring to go! Once we got up to the top we got our bib numbers, got dressed, stashed our stuff, and hit the bathrooms. Amy’s husband and dad were there on skis to wish us good luck. It took the race officials quite awhile to get the race started, so we ended up pretty chilly when we finally got going. They announced that this was the largest snowshoe race in the world, that was pretty cool!!

The race was off very suddenly. People were bookin! I was near the front and thus off with all the fast 10Kers. Pretty soon there was a junction where the 5Kers had to turn and I missed it. A quick turn around and I was back on track. After a steep downhill I could see all the racers in front of me. I only saw one woman, the rest men! Could I be in second? We hit mile #1 and my watch said 0.84 miles, so I figure that mile marker was a little too soon, or it was for the 10K runners and I was confused, probably the later. At 1.5 miles there was a water station and a turn uphill. It climbed, and climbed, lots of hill. I would walk for a bit, then pick it up and start running. For some reason I felt good enough to truck up about 50% of the hill at a strong running pace. Then...I would get tired, and walk for the other half of it. Most people around me were walking the entire hill, and I wasn’t really running much faster than them, but it “felt” better to run up at times. We hit the two mile mark, my watch said 2 miles even, we took a left and it was flat. I started running thinking we were all done with the hills, but we turned a corner and there was another one. So back to walk/running. At the top of that hill it was clear we were done with hills as I recognized were we were from previous races, so I took off. I could still see the woman ahead of me, and a quick glance back verified no women on my tail, so I put in a good push and just tried to drive the feet forward in the snowshoes and stay relaxed. The finish was an awesome downhill.

Finishing in the front was strange. No one to cheer, no one said good job, I wasn’t even sure that the lady typing in the finishers numbers even saw me. I walked back and asked her if she “got me” and she nodded. It was weird. Nothing...silence. Huh? Okay! So, I went into the tent, only one dude in there, and I stripped down and changed clothes, warning him first. I grabbed my recovery drink and my camera and went to cheer for the girls. I walked back about 1/4 mile of the course and had SO MUCH FUN cheering for everyone. This is always my favorite part, I really try to do it up good, nice and loud! The camera ran out of battery...go figure.

I wasn’t standing there long at all when Laura came ZOOMING by. She looked great with a huge smile on her face. He smile is infectious, so it gave me chills! She was really tuckin’, I felt so proud of her. A few more minutes of cheering and boom, there’s Amy! Again, a huge smile, and another proud moment for me. I walked with Amy for a little bit, and then off she went to run across the finish! I was so proud of “my girls”, they did so great. The best thing about it for me was to see how happy they were. I watched quite a few people go by in the race with sour looks on their face, and then to see the two of them so happy and in great spirits despite numerous steep hills, and powdery snow, that’s just inspiration in a bottle for me!

As for the numbers: my official time was 34:54. This was indeed good enough for second place. I got to get up on the podium which was a goal of mine...but not just any goal, one of those goals that you are afraid to mutter, that you just hold in your mind and your heart. I would watch the ladies every race when their names were announced, step on the podium and I always had this “in awe jealousy”. So if felt really good deep in my heart to achieve a “quiet goal”, the training and hard work is rewarding me. They also gave me a pair of Atlas Elektra snowshoes for my second place finish! I’m not sure what I am going to do with them yet, but they retail for like $250, so I am a lucky lucky girl!