Marathon runners: Trying something new - the snowshoe marathon!

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    Jan 20, 2009 7:47 PM GMT
    Last week the windchill was so dangerously low in Duluth that it was actually -40 degrees and even the schools closed. By Saturday, however, the mercury climbed to +12. i waited until the last minute to sign up for 26 miles of something I've never done: the 19th annual Northwoods Snowshoe Marathon, which was on the Lester Park ski trails in Duluth, Minnesota. The view of Lake Superior is breathtaking once you get to the top, especially on a clear day.

    I entered this marathon with no snowshoe experience at all. I've run a lot of marathons, and I was able to borrow the 'running' snowshoes (Atlas brand) from a friend. Once I gave them a test run I figured, well, at least this will give me something to talk about. I have wondered what the difference was versus running a regular marathon. Other than the weather - which is damn cold - it's difficult when there are no crowds to cheer you on. You are on ski trails that lead to narrow trails and paths, and in some places you're the only one for a long time (only a dozen or so signed up for the full marathon, 60 were signed up for the half). If you've been going to the gym, be thankful for three things: the elliptical machine, the inner/outer thigh machines, and the rotary torso machine. Had I not strengthened my core muscles and legs, and gotten used to distance 'climbing', I would be a hurtin' unit still. Most of the marathons I have done are clearly marked with mileage signs and aid stations. This one - well, you just had to watch the sun and figure when it was starting to move west, you must be getting close to being done. Which was correct.

    If you do a lot of distance running, I really recommend giving this a try - or at least snowshoeing, if you live in a colder climate and have access to some good trails. It's a different kind of workout (I found it harder than running - that might be more the trail that we were on though being uphill). But it did feel great to get out and do something different, particularly this winter, which seems longer than usual (and feels like it's never gonna end!). We have all this snow, so we might as well get used to it being here and do something fun with it. So feel free to ask me any questions if you ever want to know. It was a lot of fun; oddly I wasn't sore in the same way I was sore after a marathon. My inner thighs were killing me! But the usual back/hamstring stiffness wasn't there which is good. I was able to work out the next day or so.
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    Jan 20, 2009 9:37 PM GMT
    Sir, I commend you. I've done plenty of snowshoeing in my day, so I can not even imagine doing a marathon on showshoes. Granted, I'm usually carrying a 50 or so pound pack while I'm snowshoeing, and you certainly wouldn't be, but still and all, goddamn. I don't doubt at all that your inner thighs were hurting like crazy, considering how you have to move with snowshoes on.

    Sounds like a crazy, but amazing, race. Maybe someday after I've actually been able to do a regular marathon (or even half!) I'll try something like that.
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    Jan 20, 2009 10:56 PM GMT
    I still have nightmares about the 50lb pack Chewey.
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    Jan 20, 2009 11:17 PM GMT
    TigerTim saidI still have nightmares about the 50lb pack Chewey.


    It hurts so good, mon Tigre, it hurts so good. icon_smile.gif