The cold wind blows at precise rates when I’ve got my ice skates on

Welcome back winter once again. It’s January, so there’s not much racing going on… which is one reason the SHivering Icy Trail Run (SHITR) sounds so appealing. With no entry fee and no pressure to perform it’s a good excuse to get a good hard run in through the woods at night in probably rotten weather with no aid.

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

The temperatures warmed up and some of the snow melted, resulting in a super sloppy mess. The run was shortened from 13.1 to 10.8 miles at the last minute so we wouldn’t absolutely destroy the fragile single track trails. We stayed on double track gravel roads the whole way. It sounds easy enough, but there were a few big hills and lots of ankle deep snow-on-top-of-ice-on-top-of-water to keep things interesting.

40˚F and windy was fairly unpleasant prior to the start at sundown, but once we started moving everything was fine. At least it wasn’t 35˚F and raining like last year.

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

I started conservatively and tried to stay as close as I could to other runners. I wanted a good hard run, but I probably would have stayed with other people for several miles if I saw someone else was moving at a good strong pace. While trying to keep my pace under control I accidentally ran off the front. Once by myself I decided to just go ahead and get a good hard run in. One slippery mile gained 300 feet in elevation, and that one was around 7:50. Aside from the hills, I maintained a steady pace in the 6:40-6:50 range through the slop, gradually speeding up as the run progressed. Then I finished strong with a 6:15 final mile.

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

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Photo courtesy of Lori Vohsen

I was hot until the moment I stopped running. Then I had about 30 seconds at a comfortable temperature. Then I was freezing. It was a good sign that I wasn’t as wiped out as last year. Again, I was the first person to finish the event and was awarded a trophy.

Fastest SHITR

After changing into warm dry clothes I stuck around for a while and met people and had interesting conversations before succumbing to the cold wind and heading home.

I’ve done a handful of different fat-ass races (lightly organized, no entry fee, usually no awards), and this was by far the most organized. Race stickers, homemade finisher medals, (used) trophies, the works. Kudos to the Rock Racing people on a super fun event. Since we’re moving out of state I likely won’t be back next year to defend my two-time Fastest SHITR moniker. Alas, I may never be a fast SHITR again.