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Lolo Pass Training Ground
The last month has been a struggle for me. I've been struggling to make it out the door in the morning, struggling to put in miles, and struggling to break out of my hibernation state. I have decided I'd be a great professional bear during winter months.

Despite that, things are looking up! Days are getting longer here in Missoula again so I no longer need a headlamp to get to and from work. I've had a couple promising workouts the last couple weeks and I have my first race of 2015 this weekend.

As I try to get my mind wrapped around competing again, I can't help but wonder if my training has been enough. Last year when I ran the WillRace Snowshoe Qualifier, I was coming off a huge winter of solid training, a win at the Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill, and a nearly 20 minute PR at the Mt Taylor Quad. I was tired from a couple weeks of racing, but I knew I was fit.
An attempt to skate ski after rainy powder

This year is very different. I don't have the volume under me that I had last year. I haven't done as many workouts. I don't have a rust-buster race out of the way. That leaves me with a lot of doubt heading into Saturday considering I need a quality day so I can qualify for Snowshoe Nationals.

My training to this point just isn't quantifiable in terms of providing realistic expectations. I have put in a lot of time nordic skiing, which means my heart rate is used to being in the high 160's. I have a couple long snowshoe "runs" that turned into hikes in deep powder with 4,000' of climbing so I know I can suffer in slow conditions. And I have a couple short rep workouts out of the way that give me confidence for having ok turnover for a snowshoe race. Plus I'll be going into this fresh, where last year was the third weekend in a row. But for this weekend I have to toe the line with an anxious mind and hope that what I've done worked, and is enough. No training-log security blanket for me.

I still am excited to race. Since the WillRace Snowshoe race last year I have wanted to get on the snowshoes again and see what I can do in that discipline. Now is my chance. Hopefully I can get the job done and qualify for nationals and keep my short season alive. Plus, I keep seeing the guys of TRF-pro racing amazing and it gets me fired up. Nick Arciniaga just won the first Star Wars half and Nick Hilton PR'd huge to finish 13th at the US Half Marathon Champs in Houston.
Owen's Birthday Party - counts as training?

Qualifying for the USSA Champs is confusing. There are three ways I can qualify. I either need to be in the top ten overall (ideal) or top three in my age group. Or I can be within 130% of my age group winners time. This leaves a pretty big window for me to sneak a qualifying spot, but if the field is big and fast, I need to be sharp.

I'm racing at the Western Winter Roundup in Sandpoint, ID. This will be my first footrace in Idaho and counts as another state off my list of places to race. With my race entry fee I get a trail pass for the area where the ski takes place, so if the snow is good I can get in some bonus K's!

Here's to racing! See you on the other side.