Dion Ganaraska Forest Snowshoe Race Recap

Another year, Another snowshoe race.

After running the Dion Red Barn Snowshoe race in 2015 I was excited to tackle another one this year. I signed up for the Dion Ganaraska Forest race as it was a new location to the series and the closest one to Toronto. I registered at the start of the winter and was excited for February to come around. I was a bit worried about the weather leading up to the race as we’ve had an unseasonably warm winter in Toronto. I emailed the race organizers on the Monday of last week to reserve a pair of rental snowshoes and didn’t put too much thought into it after that.

Ganaraska Forest

The day of the race it was well above zero and not an inch of snow in site in downtown Toronto. I picked up my friend Eric for the road trip and as we got closer and closer to the location I was hoping we’d start to see more snow. Thankfully there was snow in the Ganaraska Forest but it had definitely begun to melt.

It looked like there was around 30 – 40 participants that day. We lined up at the start, got instructions that it would be an out, loop and back course and to follow the snowshoe trail signs and orange arrows at crossroads. I started out strong but about 5 mins into the race I felt like I was in quicksand. My body just wasn’t having it. I had an inkling that would be the case as my energy has really been low all year and I haven’t been putting in as many training hours as I’d like but opting for rest and more sleep instead. The journey of living with MS is teaching me how to understand my body’s capabilities and accept them as they come.

Dion Ganaraska Snowshoe Race

I decided to focus on my mindset. I have a really bad habit in training and races to get really mad at myself when I have MS symptoms. I get all teary or weepy or pouty and have a hard time being nice to myself for my current capabilities. I walked when I had to, smiled and really took the time to look around me and enjoy the beauty of the forest.

I took a behind the scenes video for snapchat, a picture for the blog, a boomerang video for Alpha and a selfie to send my boyfriend after we finished. So I was well entertained for a few seconds here and there. About 15 mins my heart rate had slowed down a bit, I was able to catch my breath and I just focused on running and taking deep breaths. I ran on the flats, walked quickly up the hills and just pushed on. My mantra in my head for the day was “You Are Stronger Than Your Body Thinks”.

Dion Ganaraska Race

I finished the race smiling. I finished happy. I shoved 2 banana, 3 oranges and an apple in my face and then hightailed it back to the city for a warm shower. My race win was really taking control of my mindset and really focusing on staying positive the whole time not just in a couple of moments.

I definitely didn’t prepare properly though for the physical aspect of the race. I wish had gotten out more this year on snowshoes and gotten my cardio training up. I also should’ve brought a pair of warm clothes to change into as we got soaked with the wet snow and slush on the course. That was a big miss on my part and very unlike me.

I love the Dion series. Everyone is super friendly. The organizers got a ton of door prizes and most participants walked away with a goody. I definitely hope to do another one next year!

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