Monday, February 1, 2010

Showshoe Heaven

While I don’t recommend it, breaking my elbow has its benefits. Sure, I haven’t been in the pool at all, and it’s going to really suck getting back in. However, my combined run and bike volume has expanded from about 4 hours to almost 7 over the last six weeks. On the bike, I doubled my time from 1:15 to 2:30 per week, and my results are showing it. For running, I went from 20 to 28 miles, which is perfect timing for the Cape Midwinter 10 mile race this Sunday.
Even better, I’ve been out on my running snowshoes a bunch of times. These shoes are made for running- they’re narrow, shorter and lighter. Here’s a picture from the internet:

So far, I’ve been up to Sunday River, Blueberry Lake and Ole’s in Warren, VT, and the Mt. Washington Hotel. I’ve found I enjoy trails much more than open fields, which tend to be tedious. Trails are constantly changing. I head out with a Camelback waist system that holds a water bottle on my left hip, and has three pockets that separately hold keys, iPod and a gel flask. I typically stop about every 15-20 minutes for nutrition- it’s awkward to drink while on the move. These frequent stops also allow me to go for a pretty good distance. Three of the runs have been between 1:30 and 1:45. At an average speed of 6 mph, that’s 9-10 miles, a worthy workout. I also have a feeling that this is doing some good for my run mechanics- my stride tends to be shorter, and I’m striking the front part of my foot.

Importantly, the trails are just a great place to be. Nearly all of the trails are groomed, which lets me move along at a good clip. It’s all new, quiet, changing, and there are only a few others out there- just enough to keep things interesting. I’m surprised I haven’t seen any other snowshoers- they’re all on XC skis.

Last weekend we went to the Mt. Washington Hotel with three families from Winchester, MA. On Saturday, I headed out on the trails around noon, after waiting for the temperature to finally get over minus 5*. Even with that cold, I only had on a thin long sleeve shirt and my Team Nor’Easter biking jacket. For gloves, I have a fleece-like underglove and shell-like overglove. On the bottom, I wore compression tight shorts and pants that are looser and thicker than tights, but aren’t baggy. On my feet, it was just short socks and trail running sneakers, topped by gators. This was all topped off with a beanie hat. In other words, even though it was frigging COLD, I don’t need to wear that much. It’s probably a sign that it’s a good workout.

As I headed out, my f-ing Garmin told me the battery was dead. Typically, I like to know how long I’ve run, and want the data uploaded to the computer for tracking purposes. So I stated the stopwatch on my iPod and resisted throwing the 305 into the snowbank.

If you haven’t been to this resort in the winter, put it on your list. The trails are great, and there are many views of the mountain- which is spectacular on a clear winter day. Here are two:

Near the end, things started going downhill. I was gassed and had a bad blister on my toe. I finally got back, and had this view of the back of the hotel-

Along the way, I noticed my jacket collar was frozen solid and my earphones seemed to be iced to my ears-

The next day was even colder- by 10 AM, it had warmed up to minus 9*. That didn't stop the kids from enjoying the outdoor pool-


  1. I've only seen snow like that a handful of times in my life but I have NEVER seen people frolicking in a pool with snow around it like that. Great photo and good to hear you are making the best of your injury situation and winter!

  2. Have a good race on Sunday.

    I love my snowshoes. Sneak up Bradbury some moonlit night after a snowstorm. It's dreamy fun and you feel like you are on the moon when you summit.

  3. oh snowshoe running is GREAT and it's a tough workout!!! I did that years ago adn found it really hard. Mark loves it too. I should try it again...we need more snow! those pictures of Mt Washington are gorgeous!!! But the pics of your earphones frozen to your ears!!!OUCH!
    hope your elbow is healing well!! See you sunday!

  4. How do we know that's simply not you in the pool? Trying to pass it off as your kids...

  5. I have tried snowshoe running once, and I remember I only lasted about 10 minutes before I wanted to pass out I was so tired!
    On a different note, it's great that losing swimming has enabled you to find something new... and you will get your swimming back in no time.
    See you this weekend! Wahoo! A Race!

  6. I love snowshoe running! That and cross country skiing were the only things that kept me from going crazy on the treadmill/elliptical in Yuzhno.

  7. Love those snow shoes for running. They look FUN. I am a huge fan of Mt. Washington but have never stayed overnight there or went on the trails. Just dinner and walks. Reminds me of The Shining. Good luck in the race today!