As anyone who lives on the East Coast knows we have been assaulted by snow this winter. Tons of it and it seems like there's even more to follow. Today was the annual Cold Feat 10k, a trail race through the Greenbelt.
Since I lead the trail training runs for the Staten Island Athletic Club I knew that the trails were snow covered so when we lined up for todays race I knew what was coming. The snow covered ground, and the grey skies generously gave us an additional snow fall right as the race began. It was the prettiest race I ever ran in. Snow covered everything, a gentle snowfall, the temps were very pleasant actually low 30's. Excellent running weather except for the 12 inches already on the ground obviously.
My goal for the race was to run smart and not burn out early because the wet, heavy snow made every step a challenge. As I hit every downhill I planned on bombing it but here is where my strategy failed. even with the added spikes I put on my shoes I could not get traction. As I sped up I started sliding out. I like to set my sights on a runner ahead of me and try to catch them but every time I tried I skidded out. Like a car that is on a patch of ice and instead of slowly going over it they gun it and spin there wheels going nowhere.
As I was finishing up the last two miles I looked back and at one point I had a little choo choo train of runners behind me and every now and then one would pass but I eventually overtook them. That is until the last mile when three runners did pass me and as they skipped down the hill like little snow bunnies I knew that they were gone. Usually I would use this as incentive to go get them but I knew that was foolhardy today.
At certain areas there are volunteers to guide us on the correct path. Today a few of the Staten Island Athletic Clubs Finest were there to help us. Stephanie, and Corey Ferretti, and big, bad Bob Wisner. On the top of the hill called "the steps" was Mrs. Ferretti diligently guiding us weary runners down the path passing the Nature Center and back into the snowy breech. As we travelled up one of the few hill i see two snowy figures, Corey and Bob. I must say I was a little disgusted. Poor Stephanie was all by herself but Corey and Bob were in their spot, thick as thieves, they had hot chocolate, warm soup, and somehow a space heater to keep them warm. Stephanie, she had a ragged tank top and some flip flops to keep her warm…..Chivalry is indeed dead.
As I finished up the race I knew that I pushed hard the entire I could have pushed harder but then I would have just stumbled and collapsed into a snow bank and who knows when I would be found.
Races like today, in these circumstances are tests of wills. To finish is victory enough,but to finish knowing that you gave it everything you had makes it that much sweeter.