The Ultra Experience

Here's to the adventures of my life which are usually ultra marathon trail running or fly fishing but may include other trips, experiences, thoughts, opinions, or pretty much whatever I want. As co-founder of Altra Footwear my life and adventures seemingly revolve more around developing and promoting the best footwear in the world...and I love it!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Kahtoola Snowshoe Marathon '11

I decided to take a bit of a challenge to start off 2011. Having run the 25k for the last two years at the Kahtoola Bigfoot Snowshoe Festival I chose to go to the next level. The marathon consists of three 10k groomed loops through the golf course with an additional 2k (1.2 mile loop) during the middle 10k, as well as two steep mountain 5k loops. Total elevation gained is about 5,000 snowshoes. A good challenge.

The temps were a bit milder this year which was nice and as we started out I had little expectations. Having only been putting in 25-30 mile weeks I was not in the best shape for such a race. Bob, from S. Dakota, was a little different. He was running the 50k and had been training like a mad man for the event. As I was talking to him on the first lap I realized that this proud owner of 8 pairs of snowshoes was legit. The course conditions were very fast this year. We clocked our first 10k in under 52 minutes. (would have been the 10k course record prior to this year)
The 5k mtn loop we chewed up easily in 36 minutes. I started the second 10k loop strong. Bob was still moving well and then as I did the extra 2k loop he was gone and I was alone. I knew that both of us had our races won at this point. Finishing my 3rd loop my time was 2:34. I had run 27k 11 minutes faster then I had run the same 25k last year! Fast....too fast. As I started up the 5k mtn loop I purposely held back trying to save some energy for that last 10k loop. I ran the loop in 50 minutes.
I was at mile 20 with 6.2 miles to go. It was tough. The last 2.5 miles are all downhill but getting to the top was a struggle. My legs were so heavy, my quads and calves were cramping but I pushed it in to win the marathon in 4 hrs 41 minutes. Challenge accomplished.

Those first two laps were too fast but overall I ran well ate well and frankly had a great time. Miles 21-24 were really tough but it comes with the territory. I have yet to get a blister in myAltra Lone Peaks!! I've put at least 500 miles in them and they are bomb proof! The loop thing isn't all that bad. I typically shy away from such courses but having my drop bag there with everything I needed was quite nice. I'm not sure of the total number of participants but there seemed to be a great group of people out and about. Very fun festival and having run 3 different events over 4 consecutive years, I'll be back next year!

Fun little video about the marathon made by Randall Davis


kahtoola microspikes said...

Great Blog. I add this Blog to my bookmarks.

Cat said...

The Kahtoola Snowshoe Festival is great fun.

I saw you fly through the aid station at the starting point loop as we 5K, 10K and 25K'ers were getting ready to start our races ( second year doing a leisurely 5K).

Congratulations on setting a new course record for the marathon! Awesome! Enjoyed reading your race report.

Hone said...

Nice job man! I miss the snow so bad.

Anonymous said...

Hey Brian, this is Bob from SD, thanks for the help on my first 50k...I was looking for photos of the race and found your excellent up for me is snowshoe Nats in WI on 3/12...10k will be a walk in the park...I plan on going back next year to break 5hrs if conditions allow....hope to see you there