Thursday, March 18, 2010

Hey FTO! Are you excited about the Snake Run?

Let's start packing for our first 20 mile run!

Some of us met up at Turkey Mountain Tuesday and got a preview of the snake trail. While there was some mud (and Ken threw in a few rocks I don't remember), overall it was a great run and no one has cursed me (out loud) for whispering that this race existed.
And to make matters more interesting . . .Saturday's forecast begins at my favorite running temps to start a race . . . 30-40 degrees but also RAIN!! And what does dirt trail + rain = ?? MUD!!

So a few words from experience . . .

Running while it is raining, on the trails, in the mud, can be run, refreshing, and frustrating! I ran a 50k on Turkey Mt in September (Turkey and TATURs, great race!) and it rained the entire time!! Usually what happens is everyone, at first, will try to avoid the puddles, but if it does rain a lot, you will save yourself time and effort if you just run through it. Your shoes will get wet, muddy and for a brief period, at first, your feet will be cold and uncomfortable. In a few minutes, you will forget about it. Seriously (well not if you are in cotton socks). Even if it is 30-40 degrees. ;) After awhile you will stop caring and the water may even feel good . This is a sign that you are becoming sickly addicted. Another trail running tip, do not expect to run your normal speed. It is normal to be going 1-2 minutes slower on trails. It should also take more concentration since you need to watch for rocks, roots, stumps (huh Larry?) and in general where to place your foot next. This is a good time to share with you the most important rule in trail running.
If you look up. you are going down!
Some will even say that it is not a good race unless there is blood shed. You may fall. This is ok. People may laugh. Do not get mad. Because you would have laughed at them too.

Something unique thing about this race is that you can leave a drop bag at one end the trail and pass by it every 4 miles. So, in this run you actually dont have to carry much with you. (not good practice for race day!) The bags will be just on the other side of the aid station so make sure the race official (Mitch) knows you are not dropping and just visiting your drop bag. :) Since there is a good chance of rain, and there will likely not be much room for drop bags under the tents, I suggest putting your drop bag in an old rubbermaid container or put your bag in a trash bag for extra layering from the rain. You may even consider dry clothes in ziplocks inside your backpack inside a trash bag. Get the idea? My plan is to find an old rubbermaid and just throw everything in it.

This is a very social race. People usually bring lawn chairs and hang out awhile. Some people will run a lap, hang out a bit, run another lap, drink some beer. Others will take this race very seriously and want you to get out of their way on the trail so they can get as many miles as possible. Some of this trail is single track. That means that it is narrow. Please try to yield to those behind you that are running a faster pace. This is also an out and back at some parts and people will be going both directions. It will thin out after awhile when everyone finds their own pace. If you are not trying to win (most miles in a time period), you do not have to rush. Let the others start and wait a minute or so until things clear out before starting the run. This run has an aid station at one end of the trail and the other (start/finish), even if it is pouring, please do not forget to hydrate and stay fueled. Do not forget your salt/electrolyte replacements.

Gear check

Minimum gear for drop bag:
Heavier shirt/jacket/sweatshirt for when you finish
Extra Gu, shot blocks, etc
Extra Soy sauce, electrolyte tabs, or the like

Leave in car or drop bag/rubbermaid container:
Second pair of shoes - so you dont have to wear your muddy shoes home
Plastic bag to throw muddy shoes in
Plastic bag to throw dirty clothes in
Dry/clean socks
Old towel in car, to sit on or what ever else you might need it for

For hanging out afterwords:

Dry/warm clothes
Lawn chair
Cooler (if you want beer, choc milk, etc)
Umbrella? :(

There will be porta potties somewhere near the start/finish and the rest of the mountain.
There will be food/fuel at the aid stations and more food after the race.

Even though it looks like the weather might not cooperate with us, we need to be strong :) We still have no idea what it will be like race day. This is going to be a fun event rain or shine. When I trained for my first marathon, I heard people say, 'a marathon starts at mile 20'. While I am still not sure what this means exactly, I have come to my own conclusion that you have to have it in you to finish. Pace yourselves. Do not start off to fast and this may be hard with the crowd (except for the single track trail) but you have a long way to go. Let's take it 4 mile laps at a time, encourage each other on the out and backs and have a great time!


ps. I will be at the Lower Parking lot at 545 Thursday 3/18/2010 if anyone else wants to see the Snake Trail.

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