The Perfect Snowshoe Run

The last three months have been a real struggle for me. I have been nursing a very stubborn knee injury that has prevented me from running very much at all. I’ve still been able to get out for short runs each day, but they haven’t been anywhere near as long as what I normally love to get in. And, I must say that an injured runner is a grumpy runner.

With Sara and I both going through injuries right now, we have been commiserating together about our respective woes and discussing how great it will be once we can finally even get up to over 40mins of running again painfree. This certainly isn’t where we want to be, but a far cry from what the last 93 days, give or take, have been.

Thank gawd for snowshoe running during this time. I know that I could not be running anywhere near as much as I am right now if it wasn’t for the fact that I can run on a soft blanket of snow each day while benefitting from the added stability of my snowshoes. Snowshoe running has also helped to strengthen many of the muscles that I have needed to strengthen and even up some muscle imbalances.

Over the past few weeks things have finally started to improve and I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I distinctly remember the one specific snowshoe run that it happened too. We are fortunate to have some wonderful neighbors who have some of the most beautiful trails. There is a combination of rolling terrain, open fields, a small lake, wide juniper trails and narrow single track through thick forest. These trails aren’t particularly long, but have been a blessing to run on.

It was on one night a few weeks ago that I headed out for my normal run, just like any other daily run. It was a cold and clear night. The kind of night that makes you feel so alive during the winter. .I was running along, following the glow of my headlamp while expecting some pain to eventually set into my knee. Then something strange and magical happened. I found myself getting caught up in the beauty of the run and picking up the pace. I told myself this probably wasn’t wise and that I should slow down a little and ‘protect’ my knee, but I just couldn’t do it. I was so caught up in the moment that I found myself launching my body into the hardest and fastest running that I’d done in months.

I expected to finish the run feeling a little rickety and worse for the wear, but you know what? It never happened. I was giddy with excitement and the incredible feeling of pure joy from this run. Maybe I got off lucky with being a little careless, or maybe, just maybe, by throwing my soul into this run on such an amazing night I was able to lift my spirits and move onto my next phase and full recovery.

Who knows? All I can say though is that my knee has improved just a little more each and every day since that run.

See you on the trails.


About the author

Sara Montgomery and Derrick Spafford

Derrick and Sara are trail runners from Eastern Ontario who discovered that running on snowshoes in the winter months is a great way to enjoy their favorite trails year-round. They competed in their first snowshoe series (The Mad Trapper Series in Low, Quebec) in 2005, each finishing 2nd in their respective divisions. Plans for 2006 are to return to the Mad Trapper, to take in some races in New York and Vermont, and hopefully cap their season with the U.S. Snowshoe Championships in March, as Canadian guests. Derrick runs a company, Spafford Health and Adventure (, which specializes in coaching and event promotion. He is currently planning an annual snowshoe race to be held in the Kingston area, starting this winter.

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