Sunday, January 2, 2011

North Pond South Pond Snowshoe

Had a bad day out in Western Mass as I almost had to drop out 6-7 minutes into the race (no lie I was very close to a DNF).  I travelled out to Savoy/Florida MA to run in the MA State Championship (race #2 in the WMAC / Dion series) and it is one I should have sat out.  The race was in question due to the deteriorating conditions of the snow in the woods but the RD decided there was enough snow to hold the race and it was too late in the week to cancel it.  Had the race been put on, but no series points awarded, I wouldn't have gone...but he indicated he would score the race as part of the series, so I decided to give it a go.  I made the 3 hour ride out to Savoy and arrived in plenty of time to run over the approx. 3 mile course which circles between the two ponds (North and South).  The RD had indicated that the warm temps and rain had washed most of the snow away, but there was enough slushy stuff hanging onto the forest floor to constitute a race, so it was go time.  As I did the course over once as a warmup, I went pretty slow and didn't notice anything wrong with me.  I was too busy trying to figure out where I was going to plant my next foot to get on some snow.  There was just constant exposed rocks, roots, bridges, and snow-less stream crossings.  There was also constant frost heaves that you punch right through, some pretty deep.  This was concerning and I was really hesitant on doing this race, but I had driven 3 hours to get there, so I wasn't going to back out now.  As I returned back to the starting area, I quickly ran over and grabbed a pair of rental shoes, as I didn't feel like killing my own shoes on this course.  I changed and headed over to the start with Tivo.

The race essentially starts on trails with no snow at all.  The snow you do hit, goes flying and disappears with each step.  I shot out to the immediate lead but knew something was wrong pretty quick.  It wasn't 3-4 minutes in before I knew I was toast.  By 5 or 6 minutes in, I was ready to stop.  I couldn't breathe at all and my entire body felt like I was in serious oxygen debt.  At around 6-7 minutes or so, I told Tivo to go around me, as I was essentially walking.  The course wasn't even tough (aside from the conditions), I just couldn't run any longer.  I felt like I was starting from scratch and have had no training of any kind. It was really strange.  Tim went around me and just kept going.  I lost sight of him immediately and just tried to keep a running gait.  I then realized that the medication I was taking over the past couple days has wiped me out.  I have been falling asleep to Vicodin and muscle relaxers and have been taking them in the middle of the night to be able to fall back asleep after waking up in chest and back pain.  I knew that they had not cleared my system and my overwhelming feeling of fatigue was taking it's toll.  I felt like stopping and taking a nap in the snow during the was brutal.  I managed to finish in 2nd place but was well off of Tim's run ( I think he just cruised once I was out of the picture and he could have gone much harder).  I think this was one of if not my worst race as far as snowshoeing goes and maybe even in the top few of all time for me based on how I felt, how quickly it happened, and how I essentially came walking in.

Had there been other people there like DD, Tim Mahoney, Ben, etc. I would have been way back in the results.  I got lucky the field was relatively small.  It was essentially a mistake on my part to think I was out of the woods on my health issues. The Dr. suggested a few days off and I should have listened (at least on the racing front)... As I came walking/jogging into the finish, I proceeded to dry heave for 5+ minutes and was so dizzy and lightheaded.  I felt like I just ran a 5k indoors and emptied the tank.  It was embarrassing to say the least.  It's a good thing this doesn't happen often, but when it does, it surely does suck.  I just hope that it was the medication that was making me super lethargic today and not something more serious.  I would have been 18+ min 5k / 29+ min 5 mile today if I had been racing on the roads...maybe even slower.  Not good. I'm hoping things will shape up, but if I keep having problems like this on the snow, I may be looking at an early start on the roads this year.... For now, I'm staying away from the medication unless I absolutely need it.  I'm certainly not going to take anything the night before and practically the morning of the race anymore.

After the continuous dry heaving stopped and I no longer had the spins, I got some help getting my snowshoes off and then immediately got out of there.  I was dreading the 3 hr ride home and wanted to get home asap so I could take a nap (but I still ended up nodding off all the way home).  I was literally gasping for air as I tried to get dressed in my car.  I was talking to Tim and it felt like I had just finished racing, but it had been at least 25 minutes.  You would have thought I was at altitude or something...just not in a good place right now breathing-wise... not sure if I have some sort of infection or flu or something rather than simply strained chest muscles... at this point, I just hope it goes away soon.


  1. when I saw points would be awarded I wondered who would go. Thought about it but sat home and drank coffee instead.
    I had a respiratory virus for most of December. It's been making the rounds in Western Ma. I was down for 2 solid weeks. Labored breathing and sore ribs from coughing. Took 2 more weeks to get any energy back. Hope you get through it quicker. Youth is a big help.
    Interesting about the Vicodin. My wife had a somewhat unsuccessful surgery for a spinal stenosis and the surgeons answer now is the pain killer Vicodin. She's not a runner but a fairly active woman. Doesn't sound like a good match.