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Magoo Runs in Her First Snowshoe Race

This January, I did my first snowshoe race. I ran in the Bradbury Squall. This is a 3 mile snowshoe race through Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal, Maine.

Frosty and I drove down early, so that we could stop at L.L. Bean to drool over gear. We left with a wish list of items we hope show up at our local Bean outlet.

Once at Bradbury Mountain State park, I checked in and got my bib. I used the port-a-potty then put on my snowshoes. Most of the runners participating in this event had racing snowshoes, either their own or borrowed ones. The Squall had some loaner Dion racing snowshoes available to registered racers on a first come first serve basis.  Even though my snowshoes are not racing snowshoes, I wore them for the Squall. I had on my Tubbs Flex ALP snowshoes.

I walked over with the group to the starting area. I had on my warmth layers pre-race to ward off chills. I brought a bag with me to put my winter coat in to leave at the start/finish line area. There were close to 100 people in the race. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 80.

The race was challenging in a great way. I had only run with snowshoes a couple of times before the race. I had practiced snowshoe running on my backyard trails which are flat. The Squall’s race course was not. I had only run road races previously, so this was my first trail race.

The Squall’s course had small rolling hills throughout. It is a trail, so there is uneven ground, rocks, etc. I think trail racing terrain may be easier in snowshoes, but maybe not. I look forward to finding out someday. I have only run training runs on trails and they are smooth road-like trails.

My first goal was to finish. I thought this goal was attainable unless I got hurt. My second goal was to not go over a 60 minutes. I wasn’t sure if I could do this. When practicing at home, I went over an hour by just a couple of minutes each time. When I got out on the course racing, I worried that goal number two wouldn’t happen. The terrain was harder than my training course.

I pushed myself to go at a steady pace. Not too fast, I didn’t want to burn out. But I did want to push a bit. After the first mile, I was hopeful when my Garmin watch vibrated and said I did the first mile in just over 17 minutes. I was hoping for just under 20 minutes. But, I was not familiar with the course and worried about what obstacles would be coming my way and how they would impact my time.

I was having fun pushing myself. Being physical, enjoying the outdoors, the camaraderie of a shared experience with the other runners. I was thrilled when after the second mile my Garmin told that I had done another lap at just over 17 minutes. My third mile ended up being just under 15 minutes!

The area around the finish line was so crowded and my eyesight is not great (thus my trail name – Magoo) that I was really confused as to where the finish line chute was. But I saw it a bit before I was directly on top of it.

I was in the group of the last 10 people to finish, but I was so thrilled! I met my goal of finishing the race. And I smashed my time goal. I shaved nearly ten whole minutes off my target time of 59 minutes!

These types of events are so inspirational for me. I love seeing the active senior runners. There was an amazing group of women in their sixties that kicked my butt. I may never be that fast, but I hope to be that active. And the 80-year-old man who finished in just under 65 minutes… holy cow! May we all be healthy enough to do what we love at 80!

The post race festivities looked so fun. They had hot drinks and soup. Prizes for the winners, and I think some random drawings as well. The prize table looked decked out! I would have loved to win some Darn Tough Socks. Frosty would have enjoyed winning the Baxter Beer. But we couldn’t stay and enjoy the festivities. : (  We had to hurry home to watch the Patriots battle the Jaguars in a play-off game.

My Garmin said the course was 3.09 miles with 138 feet of elevation gain and 133 feet of elevation loss.

Note: Parking is limited. Carpooling is encouraged.

Gear Used:

Magoo:

Tubbs Flex ALP snowshoesBuff merino wool neckwear, Apana running mittens, Smartwool Running Socks, Costa prescription sunglasses, ancient ear band, OR gaiters, Danskin Now leggings, Danskin Now long sleeve tech. shirt, and old sneakers

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Magoo

I like to get outdoors and enjoy life. I hike, snowshoe, run races, travel, camp, and sometimes just sit.

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