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.


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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About District Sweats

After a year of running in Portland, Ore., I'm back to my roots in Washington, D.C. Follow me here on the blog and on Instagram and Twitter. Got questions or sweat recommendations in D.C.? Hit me up:

3 responses to “Snowshoe racing: Because, why not?”

  1. Laurel says :

    I’ve snowshoed before, but never been in a snowshoe race. I can only imagine how hard it must be!

  2. afastpacedlife says :

    Wow! That sounds so awesome and like so much fun. I love snowshoeing and haven’t gone in a long time. I need to fix this. Congrats on your award.

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