Twinkle, Twinkle

Like many people, I find late-fall/early-winter the most challenging time of the year to get out the door for my runs. After a summer of warmth and long hours of daylight, suddenly we’re cast into the opposite world of dark and cold, which takes some getting used to. As darkness falls, I constantly look at my watch to remind myself that there are actually the same number of hours available as always. I feel like my days have been cut in half, and subsequent pressure to fit everything in. Add to this the huge urge to just cozy up on the couch with a big bowl of something hot and cheesy, and I just want to skip the workout.

Somewhere back in a corner of my mind though, I know there’s something out there for me, waiting. I know that if I overcome this overwhelming inertia, struggle into the bazillion layers of high tech fabrics, don trail shoes, snowshoes, don’t forget the headlamp, and finally heave my butt OUT THERE, that all will be good. Better than good, in fact.

The first clue comes with a glance up to the night sky. Stars twinkling, crescent moon hanging serenely, snow sparkling underneath. A deep winter silence infuses the snow covered woods, despite the crunching of my footsteps or a distant cackling of coyotes. Deer tracks entrench deeply alongside my own, and rabbit highways crisscross crazily in every direction on the surface. The stillness, the cold bite on my nose, and brisk air I can breathe right down to my toes. All so purifying. The work of snowshoeing creates a microclimate around me that is toasty and comfortable. I feel part of the woods, part of the poetry of the winter night.

Afterwards, coming back inside to the warm house, the smell of something yummy simmering on the stove greets me. Equipped with a rosy pink glow on my smiling face, it sure makes curling up on the couch much more enjoyable.


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About 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.