Having been given permission this week by my podiatrist to showshoe (because people don’t snowshoe non-stop (little does he know)) – I promptly signed up for the Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival 5K race on Saturday, January 26, 2013. I’ve read Jim Skaggs stories about this race in previous years and wanted to give it a try. This seemed like perfect timing and a chance to get out of the muck from the inversion in Salt Lake County.
I’m not a showshoeing expert. In fact, the only time I have ever worn snowshoes was about 10 years ago when I accompanied Kevin and a bunch of Boy Scouts on a cross country skiing/snowshoe overnighter in Northern Utah.
I got up early Saturday morning and packed up my gear. I was a bit worried when I left my condo to see that I could only see a few car lengths ahead because of the fog – and was very glad for fog lights on the Jeep. About ¼ mile up Parleys Canyon the fog ended and it was a pretty day where you could actually see the sky. The fog came back as I approached Midway and Heber, but I had made up good time by then. The snowshoe races were held at the Midway Golf Course that I have run by with Leslie Peterson each year as we run to the Sheepdog Festival. Major sliding in the car as I drove into the parking lot over a large sheet of ice had me a bit worried.
I checked in for the race and rented a pair of snowshoes for $6. There were plenty of people at the race that had never been on snowshoes before – so I was in good company. Said hello to Benjamin Hanel and Jim Skaggs before the race and at 9:00 – we were off.
There were five races being held simultaneously on three different loops. The marathon and 50K started at 8 a.m. The 5K, 10K and 25K started at 9 a.m. It was very frustrating for the first half mile or so because a lot of entrants who had no intentions of running a step started near the front of the pack and were walking side by side with their friends. Bad race etiquette, folks. If you are not serious – start near the back of the pack and don’t be a PITA.
My plans were to run 100 steps, walk 100 steps as long as I could and I was able to do this for most of the race. I had seen pictures of the course from previous years and there was a nicely groomed trail. Not so much today. There wasn’t a ton of snow and it was very icy, so if you carefully ran with your feet side by side – it was smooth going. Not much wider than that – you were on crusty snow which made the work harder and threw you off balance.
The course was nicely laid out – winding back and forth on the golf course. It got foggy towards the 2 mile mark, but was still a pretty day. One aid station at about 2.4 miles and then it was back to the start for me. I finished the race in 52:35, talked to John Bozung (Race Director) for a few minutes and complimented him on the race, then headed out to walk a second loop for a long snowshoe run.
Towards the last mile, some tenderness in the Plantar Fascia of the left foot – but not too bad overall.
Found out I took 9th out of 25 entrants, 6th out of women and 3rd in my age group.
Next year I plan to take on the 10K and hopefully the 25K the year after that.