The first two snowshoe runs of the season were kind of downers for me. On the first, I had a bit of a snowshoe malfunction and so I only got about 1 mile of snowshoeing. The snowshoeing I did get in was in deep unbroken powder, and it was hard hard work. The second snowshoe run was once again in unbroken powder and I struggled the whole time. I'm not against working hard, but so much effort for so little in return, in spite of the beauty of the snow-covered woods, meant that neither run was much fun for me. This morning, I was determined to get back out on my snowshoes and have a happy snowshoe run!
I've only run every other day since New Year's Day, and I think that has helped me recover fairly quickly from the cold/cough I picked up from Sam, although I am still congested. I hoped that the slightly warmer temps this morning would mean it wouldn't be as tough on my lungs and throat to run. I also knew from Ryan's talk of his run yesterday that if I took the right route, I would be able to find a fair amount of packed out or groomed terrain out there. Perhaps not the most hardcore snowshoe run then, but again, I wanted a fun run, not a struggle! I decided to head down to the river. I ran across the street and donned my snowshoes where the snowmobile trail leaves the Mt. Ararat high school road. A light snow was falling, and there was a dusting atop the trails. The surface was decent, not rock-hard but not soft. I was putting in an effort but at least I was getting somewhere and it wasn't taking forever :-) I ran up and over Mt. Ararat down to Mountain Road, which had been groomed for xc skiing after the last storm, and veered off onto the golf course. Hole #3 had been groomed as well, although it was a bit softer underfoot.
Once I hit Highland Green Road, the grooming peetered out, but there had been a lot of traffic - xc skiers, snowshoers and just plain walkers - along the cart path and out into the Heath. The trail around the Heath was packed out nicely, and was good running. It was gorgeous out there too, with lots of animal tracks, and one little section with a number of deer beds in the snow/leaves. On the other side of the Heath, I crossed the road again and went around the Vernal Pool and down to the river. Under the overcast sky, with the snow falling, the river rushed around the ice and snow-covered rocks, the deep warm browns of the pine tree trunks and the dark green needles contrasting with the white snow at my feet.
I headed back the way I came, varying my route slightly to do the full circle around the Heath. It was a nice run. I didn't dawdle but I didn't kill myself out there, and in the end, I finished up with 5.35 miles in 1:01, and more importantly, with my goal for a happy snowshoe run accomplished :-)