Snowshoe running, racing and adventure in Lake Tahoe California

I saw that Sara and Derrick were having all the fun blogging and decided to get in on it and hopefully give a different perspective.

I bit of history; I am 42 and just got heavily back into mountain biking this past year after many years off the bike. I hurt my shoulder at the end of the summer and could not ride so I started trail running to satisfy my lungs need for torture. With winter coming I wondered if after 15 years of living in Lake Tahoe if it was time to move to where I could run and mountain bike year round. Not an easy thing to do in this economy nor did I really believe I could live in a more beautiful place than Lake Tahoe California. I do enjoy hiking peaks with my snowboard in the winter and riding the resorts but after all these years I want to be an endurance athlete again.

I met Tahoe local Peter Fain who is the current national snowshoe champion and he told me about snowshoe running. As soon as it snowed I was out there and I have been out there almost everyday since. My runs have been mostly adventurous thus far rather than focused running. Running in the snow is hard especially when you are not much of a runner to begin with and even if so, depending on the snow pack it can be downright humbling to anyone. My runs started off in the powder/fresh snow with hills. I found myself hiking a lot but totally enjoyed being in the backcountry. I have since discovered snowmobile tracks as my preferred trail medium into the backcountry.

Wanting more, I committed to a race series here in Tahoe (Northstar at Tahoe series and social) so I decided I had better do some runs without my camera and phone and just try to run without stopping since racing will require this and more. I was also very surprised that more people did not partake in snowshoe running

I had a great few weeks training for the race and felt ready with the exception of what I thought was just an irritated heal from my shoes.. So I showed up Saturday for the 10K race. I had not ran in any type of race since High school cross country ~28 years ago. Other than feeling like I had never been in altitude before I felt great off the start. However after the first hill sections my right Achilles tendon started to really burn. I could not get over how debilitating the pain was, my biggest worry was that I was causing more damage. It started to feel a little bit better during the second lap of the 10K race but I knew I had more of a problem than just an irritated heel from my shoes. Snowshoeing was not fun now but more of a test of will to finish.

Well, I finished the “race” and was mentally drained from dealing with the pain of my Achilles/calf/heel but it felt good and it was definitely a good workout. Since the race I have taken some time off doing some intense home therapy of massaging, stretching and icing hoping that I can get back to running again. If not I know that I can always just go for a mellow hike and enjoy the sites.

This winter I hope to share with Snowshoe Magazine readers my adventures of snowshoeing in the Lake Tahoe area. My emphasis will be on snowshoe running but I will also try to share the beauty of the Lake Tahoe region through my photos. You can read about and see photos from some of my adventures thus for such as snowshoeing at night and other snowshoe running excursions I have had at my blog: snowshoerunner.blogspot.com you can get there also through snowshoerunner.com.

Happy Trails,

Dan

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Dan Sheehan