Friday, March 4, 2016

2016 Frigus Snow Event!- A Review of the People ;)

Picture by Jennifer Paquette Eaton

Oh my god, the company I keep.

Folks wearing stuffed animal hats, another wearing a sombrero, runners in jean shorts, skull shirts, one wearing a tyvek type suit, one of the race directors bundled up in a big orange puffy coat in which you couldn't really see his face, one racer carrying wine, another carrying Jameson Whiskey in the water bottle holder of his race pack (I took a sip, of course). My friend, Lance, decided he would hike 50 miles or so on the Long Trail to the starting line. It rained so hard while he was on the trail during the week but he made it to Middlebury by Wednesday (3 days early!) so he got a ride home and then BIKED BACK the day before the race with all his gear and snowshoes attached to his bike. INSPIRING.

Lance's Bike!!!
(photo by Lance, too)
 Again, the company I keep....

The Endurance Society continues to bring in some of the funniest, loyal, most inspiring people to its events. People who only a few weeks ago raced up and down volcanoes in Nicaragua and and then came to Vermont to run around in the snowy woods. People flew in or drove to Vermont from all over the friend drove from the midwest, leaving the afternoon before and arriving just in time for the race to start at 8am. I love these folks!

What was this event?? Last weekend was Frigus in Goshen, Vermont! Frigus is a Snowhoes/Sled/Ski event put on by The Endurance Society (aka: Jack Cary and Andy Weinberg), but with the lack of snow in Vermont this winter, it ended up being a microspike/running event. The ski race was canceled but the 60k, 30k, 10k (dude, it was totes a 13k), 5k sled run and a triathlon were still on! The lack of snow did not dampen spirits: the sun was out for the first time in, like, 5 months. The sky was blue, there was a fresh 4 inches of snow up high on the trail (it had rained all week and it snowed just in time!)...and there were many, many smiles.

10k was more like a 13k.
Salas Salsa made this meme.
Spot on for Andy and Jack event milage!

Wine and Microspikes!
(photo: Amy Parulis)

I only live 1.25 hours from Goshen so I have an easy commute to the event. I don't take that for granted at all! Instead of staying in the ski lodge the night before, like last year, I stayed at home and got up early. My goal was the 30k. My gear and food was all packed in my bin and ready to go! But, I was feeling really off for a couple days. Tired. (Hormonal changes completely out of my control..mid 40s woman...god damn it...TMI? Don't care, this is my blog ha!). I jumped in the car at 5am and 45minutes into my drive to Goshen, I pulled over to sleep for a few minutes. HUH? Bad sign for the day. I started to reconsider the distance for the day. I told myself to play it by ear and see how I felt when I got there. I could always do 10k loops instead of the one big 30k.

I arrived at 6:30am and walked in and immediately saw so many amazing friends and got a billion hugs. Ahhh....I thrive on these folks and their energy! I set up a small spot for my stuff and chatted it up for a bit. I was still dragging and decided I better just do the 10k loops and see how it felt when out there for the first one.

Andy started the race on time with a quick race talk and we were off!!

Start of the race!
(photo: Amy Parulis who carried wine during her trek!)

Runners headed out fast! The temperatures were in the single digits and warmed up slightly during the day...perfect conditions to move quickly! The course was reminiscent of last year's, minus a side hill bushwhack that was BRUTAL. But, they replaced that with a bushwhack up Hogback Mtn that rewarded us with an amazing view of the Long Trail! We then hiked on a bit and then UP Romance Mtn! I felt AWFUL going up. So slow. This is when I decided to just do the one loop and call it a day. It was just not my day and I was not going to be make myself do something I did not want  to do. I put some music on and just hiked on. I hooked up with Ted and Jordan and some other awesome folks to finish out the hike. Got my medal and hugs from Andy and Jack and hung out the rest of the day as racers finished. FYI, the leader of the 60K did it in 4:50. WHAAAT. There were some damn strong folks there!

Oh! Last year I did this with my friend, Mark Webb (read about it here). He had lost his left leg in an accident and he did not have a prosthetic yet but came out and did two loops of the 5k with my friend Ted and I...on feet of snow.

Mark and I last year.

Ted,  Mark and I last year.

This year, Mark returned to Frigus and did the 12k in 2:37 minutes. I could not even keep up. Jesus! I don't even have a picture of him racing because I could not find him! I came in at 2:50! Mark, you continue to fucking inspire me and I love you!

My gear bucket continues to make its rounds to events :)

Since this post is about the people, I wanted to share a favorite moment. We were about 2 miles or less from the finish. We came upon an 11 year old girl all by herself, enjoying where she was at. Just hiking along. Our clan of clowns comes upon her and asks if she needed anything, food, water, etc. "Nope, I am good!" We all chatted. She is my friend, Shannon's daughter, Alix. (Shannon is awesome. Shannon is one of the folks who was just racing in Nicaragua recently and we have done events together in the past, too)....he brought his family of 5 with him. His three children, ages 5-11, did the 13K. Proud of that family!) As we were approaching the end, Alix saw the ski center and totally left us in the dust and blasted to the finish!! We all cheered for her as she got her medal. The rest of her family came along eventually. What I loved about this moment was that this young woman reminded me of ME. She had a confidence about her....she was totally fine out there. She seemed to be in her element. And happy to be alone. Throughout the day, I'd high five her or chat. Later on, when they were getting ready to leave, Shannon gave me a hug good bye and all of a sudden the entire family sandwiched me in a hug. BEST HUG EVER. And then Alix said to me, "You are really nice."

The Hulme Family
(the scoob in the Frigus shirt is my new bud, Alix!)

Day made. I needed nothing else. The race was not what I had anticipated for myself but THE PEOPLE made it for me.



Jack's finish line.
Nice touch with the sunset, Jack ;)