The One Where the Runner Goes Snowshoeing

So I can check off having gone to Mount Seymour–finally, after six years here–one of the three ski hills whose lights float above the city at night. My aunt brought me along on a snowshoeing/outdoors meet up because they decided to do an easy trail and it would be my first ever snowshoeing adventure.

Although my co-workers talk weekly about the past weekend’s snow activity-filled weekends, taking full advantage of Vancouver’s proximity to mountains, I don’t think I’ve gone on a snow activity in the past two or three years. As we drove up Mount Seymour and the spring climate gave away to snow and increasing amount of snow build-up, I marveled for a moment how a snow wonderland exists and how close it is to the city. I have no idea where Toronto people hankering for snow activities go, or how long they have to drive.

Throughout the week, upon knowing I was going snowshoeing rather than volunteering on Sunday, I fretted about what to would wear. Not having gone skiing for the past couple years meant that anything I had remotely skiing-appropriate which was already dated got rotated into the Donation Pile and has long been out the door. But since snowshoeing is more constant activity, at least I had running gear to fall back on thus I wasn’t the most fashionably-gauche snowshoer on the mountain… I hope. I wore a nylon Nike toque, a cycling jacket as a “shell”, and running tights as my base leg layer. Everyone else wore thin fleeces and a real shell jacket. Thank goodness my aunt had spare Columbia snowboarding pants because I had no appropriate waterproof pants. I wore my own ankle-height hiking shoes and someone kindly lent me their Atlas snowshoes. It was a beautiful and moderate day so my ad hoc outfit was not unreasonable.

I also fretted about what to eat. How intensive would it seem to me when I am not at my fittest and it is an all-new activity challenging what are surely dormant muscles? I had my breakfast of champions at home: Just Right cereal in skim milk and PC-brand “Activia” yogurt. Aunt and I shared an Bacon ‘n’ Egger deal at the A&W where we waited for the others. I also found expired (in January 2011) Gu Vanilla Bean (w/ Caffeine) in my “treats” compartment in the fridge door. It was a little overkill but the return portion was more uphill and it’s just as overkill for any running in the near future.

In the midst of my worries, I forgot to look up proper and efficient snowshoeing technique. Thank goodness both strapping in and the very action of snowshoeing are really intuitive, like walking. There was a little more technique–toe digging in–in going up and down hills. Within the first ten minutes, my hip flexors burned a little say “hello” but then quietly continued to work. I hoped that when walking, I was efficiently moving forward, and not waddling and not twisting after each step. I even ran very short stretches but had to stop as soon as I caught up with someone ahead of me. It was admittedly a really nice feeling.

We did the 2-hour 5K Dog Mountain trail with an end point of a south-facing lookout to Vancouver. All the novelty was very fascinating and I could see how I would enjoy it if I could plug in to my iPod and listen to back-to-back podcasts to pass the time while out there. But–you know me–I don’t enjoy being on trails or spending protracted time in and admiring nature either in snow or dry land. The city runner part of me just cannot get over the effort to get to the trail and looking at only trees–it just makes the most sense to me to be running as soon as I’m out my door or joining the gym within a ten minute walk of my apartment….

On this day..