Snowshoe racing: Because, why not?

As I sped down the snow-covered face of Mount Hood on Sunday with snowshoes strapped to my feet, I was once again reminded that spontaneity yields awesome results.

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I first learned about the X-Dog White River Snowshoe 4K and 8K after Dave and I snowshoed around the Timberline Lodge slopes earlier this winter. I tried to rally a few friends to brave the event with me but had no takers and promptly forgot about it. That is, until last Thursday, when a message from a Portland Running Company pal appeared in my inbox inviting me to Sunday’s race. The stars aligned, I rearranged my schedule, and on Sunday morning, I was gleefully pinning a bib to my shirt and clumsily maneuvering in my rented snowshoes.

Readers, let me tell you: Snowshoe running is hard. Imagine tying tennis rackets to your feet and running through something like quicksand, and you’ve got the idea. The ~2.5-mile race started with a gradual, brutal climb that had me panting within 10 steps. I quickly realized that I could speedwalk an ascent faster than I could run it, so I powered through the remaining uphill portion and wondered if anyone was really enjoying the race.

But halfway through, we turned a corner (literally) and entered a dreamworld. The rest of the race was a winding singletrack through towering evergreens and a ton of snow. We were heading downhill by then, so running became easy and super-fun.

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I finished in 33:18 and 13th overall. Because the field was so small (77 in the 4K), I actually won my age group and was 4th among women! New racing strategy: Increase odds of success by competing only in obscure events. Kidding : ). But it’s definitely cool to know I’ve got this snowshoe running thing down.

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I’m already on the lookout for snowshoe events on the East Coast for next year.

Other notes:
-My Spotlight post last week was so popular, I’ll definitely do another. Holler if you have recommendations!
-Thanks so much to Refinery29 for featuring me on this list of D.C. fitness bloggers! As much as I love Portland, they know where my roots are.
-Are you on Instagram? Do you follow me? No? Get on it!

Have you ever snowshoed? Any tips?
When has spontaneity payed off for you?

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