Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Training Tip Tuesday

I've been looking ahead to my race schedule in the coming months and I've once again had a hard time deciding.  In January I found a race here in Utah that peaked my interest.  The marathon is actually a SNOWSHOE marathon!  I thought how amazing.  I'm in.  I'm doing it. 

So with the decision made up in my mind last week I thought maybe I should try snowshoeing first.  Good idea, right?  My friend Julie said she'd go with me, so I went to the local ski shop and rented some gear.  We decided to do the same trail I ran back in October, you remember, the one with the mountain lion tracks.

The section of the trail we did is 7 miles round trip.  We thought we'd kick this out in about 2 1/2 hours.  I honestly went in thinking we'd hike up to the top and then be able to somewhat run down.  Hmmm.  I always have been known to be a little overly optimistic...

The trail was absolutely beautiful.  We felt like we were making pretty good time, but the switchbacks seemed never-ending.  On our way up we ran into a gentlemen that was on his way down the trail...smoking a cigar.  Nothing like being out in nature, exercising, breathing fresh air...oops, i mean inhaling a big ol' stogie.  Seriously. 

Anyways, back to the beautiful trail.  We had a big storm earlier in the week so there was lots of fresh snow up the canyon.  We crossed some small bridges over small little streams.

The first hour I was still thinking, heck ya - I'm totally going to do that snowshoe marathon.  So fun.  Little did I know ( I didn't wear my Garmin dangit ) I had only gone 2 miles in the first hour.  We did see a few other hikers up there and they had YAK tracks on their shoes.  I'd never seem them before but they're now on my Christmas list.  They are basically just spikes that strap on to the bottom of your shoes to run through ice and snow.  My snowshoes were a little bulky for me.  I wish I had some that were a little narrower.  But that's why you rent first, right?

By the time we got three quarters of the way up, the tracks on the trail ended.  Meaning we were the first ones to get that high up on the trail!  Sweet - fresh, un-touched powder.  Well, that is until we saw these...

Those would be moose hoof prints!  Who knew that moose needed a trail to find their way around...  And then a little farther on we saw these...

Those look familiar.  Seems our good friend, the neighborly mountain lion, was still hanging around - playing a little cat and moose.  Luckily we never saw them but with the fresh tracks they couldn't have been too far off!

We finally made it to the top of the trail, otherwise known as Elephant Rock.  It usually is a gorgeous view, but we've had a few bad air quality days, so an inversion mucked up the view a bit.  Still happy to make it up to top!

There was no running to be had in my snowshoes unfortunately.  In my short experience of snowshoeing, I'm hoping that they make smaller versions of what I was using.  Surely you have to be able to run in them.  I checked the finishing times of the marathon from last year's race and the winner finished in 5 hours!  With the pace I was moving at I'd finish in about 10.  Not sure I love snowshoeing enough to go for 10 hours straight.

So training tip for today?  Make sure to test everything before race day.  You need to test what kind of nutrition you're going to intake, how often you're going to drink water, how fast your pace is going to be, and how to run in snowshoes... : )

I still haven't ruled out the race.  I'm going to try another retailer and see some other gear and test it out.  It really would be amazing to do a marathon in the snow, especially here in Utah.  It is the best snow on Earth, ya know.  Just have to make sure I can get it finished in under 7 hours preferably.  Or else make sure there's restaurants on the course for a mid race meal...maybe a Texas Roadhouse or Chili's would suffice.

Winter scenery just doesn't get too much better than this.  Hope you're enjoying your winter season of running too!


  1. Try renting racing snowshoes like these:


    Also an alternative to Yaks is to install several pan head screws (8 x 1/4") into the sole of the running shoe and wear gaiters. This will allow you to run on ice and in snowy conditions. I put 6 screws in each shoe. This does not harm the shoe.

    But for deep snow you will need the racing snowshoes.

  2. Wow! Beautiful pictures. I can't believe you came across mountain lion and moose tracks! That's crazy! The most we get are deer and coyote not that I want to encounter a moose or lion ;) Good luck with the snowshoes and marathon if you do it. Could be a lot of fun!

  3. Love the pics! That would be awesome to snowshow a marathon. I've never tried snowshoeingbut it's on my bucket list. Have fun experimenting!

  4. 1. love the new header

    2. jealous of snow

    3. when do i get invited up?

  5. i love how the pompom on your hat is as big as your whole head, which is also the same size as those cougar tracks, which reminds me, i thought i made it clear that i am uncomfortable with this risk taking behavior involving wild animals. bottom line: nice hat.

  6. Beautiful pictures, looks like a fun day. Hope you can find something that will work out for you if you want to do the snow marathon, it would sure be a cool thing to do.

  7. AMAZING photos.

    So happy you enjoy that.

    It looks


  8. amazing pics. Much better then the roads I am training on right now

  9. Awww, snow, how I don't miss you! Sure is nice to look at on your blog though... "A little cat and moose"...you crack me up! And I think you're CRAZY...crazy cool!!:)

  10. Wow--that looks so peaceful! Except for that carnivore stalking his prey--glad you were NOT it! I say go for the snowshoe marathon--one of a kind experience.

  11. Beautiful pics! Those tracks would make me very nervous! Glad you weren't alone.

  12. hey, tagged you in a post! http://runningthedawn.com/2010/12/07/tag/

    love those pictures! yeah, when i lived in vermont i did some snowshoeing...OMG, i can't imagine doing an entire marathon with those contraptions on my feet. that would be super crazy hardcore!

  13. Gorgeous! Thanks for the pics! (i'm doing a snowshoe race in Feb but it's only a 5k!)

  14. I love this! I hope one day I can do a run/walk like that in the snow. Beautiful! Great tip for sure. I'm big on doing complete dress rehearsals for big races. This includes clothing, nutrition, what to carry how and any detail I can think of.

  15. Hey, a friend told me about the snow-shoe race... at Wasatch Mtn State Park, right? We were thinking about doing the 5k or 10k. I'm in the same boat... it would help if even snow shoed. I have a pair of snow shoes, so I just need to try it out. She snow shoes all the time, so we'll see. I'll for sure do at least the 5k.