I slept great the night before the race. Like REALLY good. I was afraid that I was getting a little too used to sleeping without a two year old in my bed constantly asking for milk, sticking her finger in my ear, stealing my pillow and kicking me. I had four nights of good sleep, I think that's the first time in 2.5 years. Steve and I planned to leave for the race at 7am, and we brought along with us Myra and Patty. Myra and Patty were from Portland and they were just great ladies, so upbeat and fun to be around. They were without a car so it was great to be able to give them a lift up to the race site so they didn't have to take the shuttle.
The race was at Snow Basin Ski Resort. Dad and I skiied there on Friday and it is quite the hidden gem in the Salt Lake City area. Great Resort. XTERRA was hosting the events all weekend and they did a fantastic job with organization and announcing. I think the weekends races will air on TV, although I need to do a little more research on when and where.
After laying down and resting in the lodge for a few hours it was time to get ready. The course was relatively flat, and the snow was very hard so I knew it would be a fast course. A good long warm-up was necessary b/c I would need to go hard from start to finish. I got in a great 25 minute warm up and was able to watch part of the mens race that had started 45 minutes before the women. Steve was doing a great job, he looked really strong, and definitely looked to be in the top three in his age group.
A few race nerves, really my first of the day, started to set in as we got on the start line. It was the kind of nerves that help you get off to a good strong start, so I was happy they appeared. I have had some races recently where I have no nervous energy on the start line and in those cases it usually takes me a while to get going. I am learning that a few nerves before the gun goes off is a good thing.
They counted us down from ten and when we all took off it was a sea of Atlas. It seemed every athlete that was sponsored by Atlas was there, and in bright yellow. Here are two pictures so you see what I mean. The two ladies in black are Myra, and me!
As some of you may remember I applied for the Atlas team this year and wasn't accepted. I'm a little glad now, as I see those Atlas outfits as a target.
I got out well and as things spread out I was immediately in 5th. I felt great, I could breathe (altitude was only 6,000 ft) and things were just coming together. Around mile 1 the camera man on the snowmobile was filming me, and it was nasty. The fumes were all you could smell and I remember thinking "Peaceful snowshoeing, yea right". Luckily he went off to film someone else. Around mile two some action was happening. The lady behind me was making a move on me and the lady in front of me was within passing range. I was in fifth and I could see that very soon I could be in forth or I could slip to sixth. As the lady behind me passed me, I passed the lady in front of me and remined in fifth. I remember thinking...That worked out well. The new lady in front of me was an awesome up hill runner, whereas I am a bit faster on the down hills. We had a lot of uphill ahead of us so she pulled some distance on me.
When we were finishing up the first loop I saw Steve cooling down and he shouted to me that the second loop was much quicker. What a relief. That was just what I needed to hear. There was a big hill as we came up near the crowds to start our second loop, and thank goodness for that because you couldn't slack off with everyone cheering for you! My mom was cow belling up a storm!
The second loop was just FUN. It weaved in and out of trees and was all on well packed down single track. I loved it. On the downhills I would make up distance on the lady in front of me, and on the up hills she would make it back. I was trying to attack and stay strong but she wasn't coming back to me.
As I came into the finish it felt like the crowd was going crazy. The announcer was saying that I was the last to make the national team. I was overjoyed and came through the finish with such a huge grin, and running as fast as I knew how. When I stepped across the line I knew I had just had a great race, my best yet in snowshoeing. I came across the line in front of some ladies that always seem to be ahead of me in other races. The adrenaline rush was intense. There were lots of hugs and my mom was crying. It was just a rush. My time was just over and hour. Here is an article about the race.