Saturday, March 15, 2014

2014 Peak Snowshoe Marathon!

Let's do a snowshoe marathon!!

Sounds doable, right?

Start over: Let's do a Peak Race Snowshoe Marathon! A month after participating in the Winter Death Race!

Crazy talk!

Seriously, Peak Races put on yet ANOTHER fun event! Last year, I did the Peak Half Marathon Snowshoe Race and used it as a training event for the Summer Death Race. I carried a car tire for half of it. This year, I thought, I want to do the full marathon with no death race torture devices! Let's go!

My friends, Kevin, his wife Angela, and Laura were coming from Alabama and California just for this race. All three had never been on snowshoes before yet they signed up for the full marathon. Kevin and Laura are death racers as well, and they said, "WHY NOT!??!!?"

The day before the race, Aida and I drove to Pittsfield to meet up at the Pittsfield General Store to eat lunch with them. I had not seen Kevin since the Team Death Race (so much fun with him in September at that race!) and I had been wanting to meet Laura "officially." She was standing in front of me at the barbed wire crawl at the Summer Death Race but we were all so miserable, therefore, it was not a good time for meet and greets at that time. :) I was so glad I went down to have lunch with them! After, Aida and I drove over to Riverside Farm and saw Andy and Peter Borden....and the 100 mile snowshoe racers! Those 10 amazing racers had been going about 6 hours at that point and had 34 hours to complete the 100 miles. I saw Michelle, Jack and Robin. I love them! Fellow Death Race finishers pushing their limits on that course. At that point, I had no idea what would be ahead of me the next day. But, they were saying the course was way harder than last year. Matt, "the trailmaster", produced another great race course! If you don't hurt at a Peak Race, then it ain't a Peak Race!

100  milers starting out!
Michelle Roy, 100 mile racer.
She raced all damn night in the negative temps.
She completed 11 laps for 72 miles.

I preregistered, got my snowshoes that were included in the registration fee (nice!), let Aida play in the big snowbanks with Michelle's fiance, Bob, and hung out a bit. I could have stayed all night. I wish I had planned to help the racers out because it was going to be obscenely cold during the night. I said my goodbyes to Andy, etc, and was so happy that I would be back to my favorite town in the morning to race. I was also psyched that Aida got to meet some of my friends and to experience a bit of "what Mumma does."

I headed out the next morning at 5am to be in Pittsfield by 6am to help out at registration. I rolled into Pittsfield and it was -6 degrees!!!!! Oh my god, this is going to be a damn cold race! I parked and brought my gear bin to the barn and then quickly went back to my car and drove to get more coffee. So cold out! I learned all 100 miler racers slept during the night except Michelle..she raced all night in that weather all alone. What an inspiration!

People started pouring into the parking lot and I decided to go back to registration and help out. There were four of us, handing out bib numbers, snowshoes, Peak Race winter hats, stickers, and Peak Race tshirts. Peak always has the best race schwag! Cold racers were trying on their new snowshoes, eating snacks and trying to keep their Camelbacks from freezing! Andy announced that at 7:45am there would be a pre-race meeting. We met him out there and he told us a bit about the course, yummy snacks, drinks and sandwiches were provided, soup was coming, etc, and then we were on our way!!

I stood back as the crowd charged on! I think there were 400 there. What a crowd. Despite the cold, people were excited to get out there! I could not find Laura and Kevin and Angela so I started out with Dana and Darrin. Up we went! Straight up Joe's Mountain! I loved the route up to the top. I had been up and down that mountain so many times during three death races seven months before so it was nice to do a different route up there (not the damn stairs that I helped make and then relentlessly climb for hours during the winter death race!)  :)

100s of racers ready to go!

I saw many familiar faces from other races. That is what I love about Peak Races. It is a HUGE community of awesome people. Racers keep coming back, trying their hand at a more difficult race that Andy has to offer. And, these races never disappoint. You want a challenge? Get out of your comfort zone? Do a Peak Race. I have done several and I am always so proud of what I accomplish. It is a very unique experience and people keep coming back. So many laughs, hugs, good food...I love it.

Laura caught up quickly to me and we continued the rest of the race together. Half way through our first loop we both realized, holy smokes, we are doing a A MARATHON?!!?!?! We knew we weren't going to make that time cutoff of being finished by 6pm. Ten hours to do 26 miles on that course?! Oh  my god, so we shifted gears and enjoyed ourselves and knew we could do three laps/19 miles. So, after many hilarious falls on our way down to the river from the top of the mountain, we looked up and saw the pink flags that were switchbacking UP the mountain again. WHOA. This is a totally different course from last year! Great job, Matt! We got back to the starting line and I changed my shirt and jacket and hat and headed back out with Laura with more water and snacks. I felt much stronger on this lap. At the top, Luke joined us for the decent and we all laughed and reminisced about death races. Luke had just come back from the Mexico Death Race a week earlier so we heard about his amazing trip. The temperature had warmed up a bit and was not as frigid any more and we were having fun. We had not seen Kevin at all and figured he was on his own mission!

Laura, Luke and I coming down the second loop!
Laura and I!!
We laughed ALOT!!!! I had poles and she did not
so she had some graceful, hilarious falls!  :)

We got back down and Peter Borden saw me and took my arm and escorted me to the finish line. I had not said I was finished yet but it had just taken Laura and I six hours to do 13 miles and we knew a marathon was out of reach...but, my Death Race brain kept saying, "go do one more. You have it in you." But, the soup was warm, Peter and Andy and everyone was having a good time and I thought, "Do I really need to death race the hell out of every event  now? Will I be happy to just stop now, even though I felt fine, and just enjoy myself?" My mind kept nagging me, "you know you will be pissed later if you do not do one more lap, and leave every ounce of energy out there." But, I decided to test myself and see how I would feel stopping then. Even though my competitive brain was saying GO GO GO, I loved just having fun with the people that regularly thrash me at Peak Races (Death Races). Peter and Andy were so funny. I saw the "Norwich Boys" I helped warm up at the 2013 Winter Death Race and Andy and I joked about that. We were all giving each other a hard time, hugging and eventually said goodbye for yet ANOTHER amazing experience in Pittsfield.

New friends!! 
Laura and I got our medals and decided to go back and change, etc, and meet everyone later at The Clear in town for food and drinks. Kevin was still on the course and finished with 20 miles and Angela did great and finished the 10K, first time for snowshoes for her, too!

Kevin and Angela :)

Dana did 20 miles! Great job!
My favorite part of the day was when Andy and a few of us were standing there after the race and he said, "Jane, remember when you were afraid you weren't going to finish your first Peak Race? You have come a long way." I stopped and thought about it, that was the Peak Race 10 mile fun run three years early. OH MAN, have I come a long way. Since then, I had participated in Peaks 50K Ultramarathon, Summer Death Race, Team Death Race, Winter Death Race, the Spartan Trifecta, two Hurricane Heats, Spartan Ultrabeast, Peak Race Half Marathon and Full Marathon Snowshoe Races.

Peak Races has changed my life. I have pushed my limits further than I ever thought I could. Theses races have helped me heal from the loss of of my daughter and have shown me, as I a getting older, I can still show up and give it my all. And, that I WANT to give it my all. I learned from this race that at this point in my racing, I do need to leave it all out there and that even though it was super fun to just hang out and chill at a race, the first time I had ever done that, I do need to push myself and see what I am all about. Next year, I will give the marathon another go and if I don't finish, that is fine, but I am going to go until I can't any longer. Maybe the 100 miler and see what it is like to go for 36 hours on snowshoes?

Because, why the hell not?

I love you, Peak Races!! Thank you for providing opportunities for personal growth, providing a loving community and showing people that they can really do more than they think they can.


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