Good morning! It is great to have a Thursday morning that feels like a Monday! We ended up having 2 snow days. However, I have 2 of my kids home sick today. (That is 4 down in our family, one to go with this cold/cough/fever thing). Perhaps, I should just have Delaney share a cup with her sister and get it over with! Anyway, we are all recovered from the storm, and we woke up to a frigid -2*. After school drop off it had dropped to -5*. Looks like the treadmill again today. The roads are still VERY narrow, and snow covered too.
With our sudden good fortune of snow, I have been out snowshoeing the past couple of days and I learned a couple of pointers for any of you who may be interested in this as a cross training activity. First off, it is a great workout! Killer if you get at least 30″ of new fresh snow! My first trip out, was on a much more “approachable” amount of snow (6″). I wore my snow boots with the snow shoes. This didn’t really work. My snow boots don’t really “lace up”; they just have an elastic toggle so they allow your foot to move around a lot in the boot (and they are a bit big for layering socks). I found this made me uncomfortable, and I felt like it would create an environment for blisters. The next time out, I used my trail running sneakers, and my LONG Smart Wool ski socks. This worked well. The sneaker fit well in the snow shoe, my foot felt more stable, and the knee-high socks kept my ankles warm. There was really NO DIFFERENCE in the dryness of my feet, and in both scenarios I had “snowy” ankles. But my feet, ankles and legs were warm. I did not wear snow pants (I would have been way too hot), and for my upper body, I wore the same dress as I would for a run in the same conditions.
I found I did need to use the poles. I need them until my form improves. Snow shoes have big “cleats” on the bottom, and one has to make a concerted effort to really pick up your feet, otherwise you face plant. I found my mantra has been, “pick up your toes, pick up your toes…” Once my form improves, I will lose the poles.
“Running” in snow shoes requires quite the effort. For lack of a better description, it feels like you are running with pizza boxes (with good grip) on the bottom of your feet. Your steps have to be wide, and you have to remember to PICK UP THOSE FEET. It really works your hamstrings, anterior tibs, and hips. It is quite the cardio workout too, I had to stop every 300 yards or so to catch my breath. On a side note, my dogs did not like this sudden increase in pace. I would turn around to encourage them, and they would look at me like, “Remember when we WALKED? Yeah, we liked that better!”
Now snowshoeing in 30″ of new snow is another story! Delaney and I made it a whopping 3/4 mile in 27:34! I would describe the experience as hiking in almost 3 feet of snow while your legs were weighed down. There were a couple of equipment changes in this scenario as well. First, I wore my husband’s snowshoes which are significantly bigger than mine. Bigger=more snow to lift and move. The snow was a light fluffy snow, which meant we sank deeper into the snow! It may look like the shoes didn’t help, but they did, we were still a good 18″ above the ground. I wouldn’t be able to walk in hip deep snow! I lead on the way out, and on the way back it was significantly easier once we could follow our tracks! I hope one of my neighbors will get their snowmobiles out to make some paths for us to follow!
My take away from all of this is that I prefer to snowshoe at a hiking pace. Running in the snowshoes is cumbersome and exhausting. However, there is a snowshoe race which keeps nagging at me. I would like to at least try it and have the experience. I will decide in a couple of days. I also hope to convince my husband to do it with me, after all, it is on Valentine’s Day! One of the details I need to iron out is the distance. In one location it says 4.5 miles, and in another, a 5k. A 5k in snowshoes is going to be a BIG stretch for me as it is! Oh yes, and it is at night–a headlamp is required because it is on trails. I did read that most races are on groomed trails (whew!) and I did see from the races website that they do NOT use poles. I have a LOT of practicing to do!
After our killer 3/4 mile jaunt. I did 4 treadmill miles in the basement 8:23 average pace–the runner in me just couldn’t let my “distance for the day” be 3/4 of a mile!
Lastly, I can’t leave you without one, “Can you find the dogs in the snow picture…”
…and because I thought this was awesome…
Would you try the snow shoe race?
Have you ever tried a race that is out of your comfort zone?
Have a great day!