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Friday, February 29, 2008

Stupid Cross-Training Tricks: Snowshoeing Edition

Today was a day off for me, a well deserved day of rest and relaxation after several 70+ hour weeks, including last week which ended in a double shift when I was trying to leave early to take back some hours (I am salaried, so if I work over 40, it's my treat. When this happens I try to flex my hours down the next week to even things out... sometimes it works, more often than not I get the weenie.)
I got up this morning after sleeping in til about 8:30. Did some yoga - I need to spend some time on the core again. It worked..... I can feel all of my stomach muscles tonight while just sitting around, which tells me tomorrow they will be good and sore.
After the kids left after lunch, I got ready to do some snowshoeing. Mike's new snowshoes arrived yesterday, but for whatever reason mine got rerouted and hung up in Utah UPS limbo and were rescheduled for delivery on Monday (*sigh*). I decided to give Mikey's snowshoes a try and took off across the cornfields around my house. I learned a lot today, mostly the hard way. Here are a few of the myths I dispelled:
1) I should have no problem running in snowshoes. After all I run all the time!
I had envisioned strapping them on a taking off jogging across the top of the snow, kinda like a gazelle. Um yeah.... about that....
I took off down a gentle downward slope at a little jogging pace. The snowshoes have kind of a flip flop action and before I knew it I was catching my toe on the snow which stops the foot's forward motion and pitches you face first into the snow. But I'm sure I looked graceful as I flung forward full force. Also, when you jog in the snow you sink into it on the downstroke more than walking so each stride felt kind of like a high skipping/striders drill. And it made my heart rate skyrocket. It didn't take me long to change my pace to a really brisk gliding walk.
At one point, I got the back part of the flip-flop hung up in the snow and when I picked up my foot, I flung a huge snowball down back of my pants .... while still standing upright. Quite a feat! There is nothing like a snowball rolling down the crack of your ass to get your attention. Lot of opportunities to laugh at myself today.... I guess the first order of business is to work on technique!
2) I won't need anything to drink!
I was out there running around for more than an hour. I was really thirsty! After a while it dawned on me I was running around is fresh powder undisturbed by anything for miles around. None if it was yellow. I ended up keeping a pristine white snowball in my hand and eating it like a snowcone the rest of the way home. That worked great! I haven't eaten snow like that since I was a kid, so really kind of fun.
3) Patches of burrs are dormant in the winter, so it's not a problem to go trucking through a patch.
At one point, I was coming down into a gully full of brush. Now I know that in the summer I stay away from that kind of stuff because they are full of briars, burrs, and other prickery stuff. But in my mind as I headed into the thick of it, it was winter so all the picky stuff and and burrs had fallen off these plants, like leaves from the trees in the fall.
I ended up spending 10 minutes picking big wads of burrs off my mittens, jacket, wind pants, and out of my hair when I got through the brush patch. That was just the big chunks - I spent another hour at home picking off the little pieces. Just so ya know.... burrs stay on the stem ALL.YEAR.LONG. My little public service announcement. You are VERY welcome!
4) Snowshoes will keep me floating over the top of the snow... I couldn't sink!
So when snow blows around, it pulls the depth off the high point of hills and into the low areas, so everything looks to be about the same rolling elevation. I did great on the hill crests. In the gullies, I had to be sure to keep moving or I started sinking. I had a fair amount of float going, but it certainly doesn't keep you from sinking into the drift a little bit I'm sure if I took the snowshoes off and tried to walk through the gully, I would have been up to my hips, but I still was sinking up past my ankles in several spots.
5) It's winter, the critters are all hibernating.
We had a fresh dusting of powder overnight, so for the most part the fields were pretty much untouched looking. There were several paths of critter prints I found along the way. For a while I was interested and followed alongside their paths. For a while, there was a red-tailed hawk circling over the top of me in a full-on vulture like mode. I imagined it was waiting to swoop in and peck my eyes out when I keeled over. In reality, I think it just thought I was probably disturbing the hiding spots of field mice and other critters and was just waiting for an opportunity to find an early dinner. The further I got into the fields and woods, the bigger and more numerous the footprints got. It was kind of cool for while. Then I ran across a ginormous raccoon that hissed at me for a while from up in a tree. Tough to turn around and put your back to the grouchy little guy to retreat......
A while later I walked through what looked like dog tracks. A lot of them. Like the place where a pack of canine type things had hung out for a while. I got to thinking and realizing that they had to be pretty fresh tracks, I hightailed it out of there. There have been rumors of coyotes around there and I have personally seen a couple of foxes running into those woods. I really didn't want to meet a bunch of them face to face.
So there you have it, my first snowshoe foray. Overall it was pretty fun and something different to do. It was a lot tougher than I thought it would be, but I assume it will only get easier with practice.
Anybody have any tips for my next trip?


Duane said...

Sounds like a lot of work!

Calyx Meredith said...

Im sorry I have nothing to offer in terms of tips/tricks/advice because I CANNOT even imagine wanting to go near that much snow, much less wanting to find a way to run in it. Still - go girl!! Alien though the concept seems to me, I very much enjoyed the way you described your adventure. I'm sure you hear it all the time, but your site is inspiring (motivating, triumphant, thoroughly enjoyable). I found you through Athena Diaries; I look forward to coming back and reading more.

Anonymous said... tips here, but I enjoyed reading about your adventure, especially all the critters along the way!

Probably around the same time yesterday, I was on a bike ride and was so surprised to see about 7 roosters on the trail! I think they escaped from someone's backyard.

tayjizzy said...

I thought snow shoes were for walking...............I'd pay money to see you run in them. Let me know next time your out. :)

Jeff said...

I'd pay to see the hour you just described.

Was gonna tell you I really wasn't laughing, but this was just too good.

Gonna nominate it for the blog post hall of fame. (Is there such a thing?)

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