Monday, March 31, 2014

From One FatDog to Another: Preparing for FatDog 2014

Tim and Chris, both previous finishers, discuss this year's FatDog 120 mile trail race, and provide insight into their training and preparations for the race, as well as a detailed description of the course and the things you need to know.

Hey Chris looks like the FatDog Race is filling up fast. I see most of your family are coming out this year! What's that all about? Are you going to post a race report from last year?

Hey Tim, this will definitely be a big year for FatDog. Last year there were only 31 racers signed up in the 120 division, but now there’s 175! I think this increase is really a product of the success that Heather Macdonald has had with the Mountain Madness race series and how great of a race FatDog really is! Adding to that is the fact that it’s now a qualifier for Hardrock 100.
Last year my family crewed and paced with me, but this year it seems they’ve caught the bug as they’re all racing some distance of it! My dad and girlfriend are planning for the 70 miler while my mom and sister are going to do their first ultras in the 30 miler. It will be quite the weekend for my family!
Speaking of lot’s of people doing the race, what do you think about the increase in racers this year? Do you think the aid stations will be able to handle that many participants?

Tim is a previous finisher of the FatDog 120mile race

The race will be different for sure. The last couple years I’d arrive at an aid station and there was always a chair I could grab for a few minutes while I ate. Not so sure this year. Those of of us returning should be prepared for this. There’s plenty of parking for all the support groups (except maybe Bonnevier) but I don’t have a support crew so I’ll probably sit on the ground. The relay teams usually hang out at the aid stations for a while so Heather and Peter may have to manage that.
Heather has a lot of experience dealing with that many runners at her other races and she’s split the volunteer coordinator job in three. Side note: they need lots of volunteers. I’ve been emailing friends and family encouraging them to race and/or volunteer.

That’s a good point Tim, the race will need a huge number of volunteers this time, especially if they want to have a repeat of the amazing aid station service we received last year. The aid station volunteers were definitely one of the highlights of the FatDog race. That’s reason enough to come back, never mind that the course is stunning, almost all on trails and passes through four different parks!

I love the race. It has more single track (as a %) then any 100 mile I know. And an awesome finish area. I was looking around for other 100 milers with as many mountains and single track but didn’t find much. Let me know if you find one. A lot of them say ‘trails’ when they mean a combination of single track and jeep road. I think death race and sinister seven are mostly jeep track. From a safety viewpoint it makes sense to use jeep tracks, but the running isn’t as enjoyable.
I have less time to train this year and I’m worried about that. Last year I was putting in 100km weeks with lots of elevation. This year I’ll focus more on quality elevation runs and hope to find enough time.

I definitely agree with the idea of quality over quantity when it comes to training. This year I’m hoping that I’ll be able to increase my training to be better prepared for the hours-long uphills that FatDog is famous for.
What are your plans for race day?

Not much yet. A couple years ago Randy gave me a tip to put my drop bags in waterproof bags. That way I am guaranteed that the gear will be dry when I get there. As much as I trust the volunteers to take care of it, you never know.
I’ve also been thinking about small things, like when to carry sun glasses and sun screen. Since I wear a hat, I’ll only want sun glasses between Ashnola and the river crossing. A big to do item is to figure out shoes. I’m currently running in Salomons and Hokas from NSA (NSA is a big sponsor of the race). I need to buy more pairs of both.
Food planning will come later but I know there will be plenty of salami, fried beets and V8 juice. I get pretty sick of sweet stuff about halfway through the race. If I know anyone at the aid stations then I’ll ask them to bring hard-boiled eggs and sausage. I also like kale chips. Last year I tried doughnuts and chocolate coated bacon; they were both too sweet. I plan my own food and do the spreadsheet thing to count the calories. I ended up with lots of leftover food as I didn’t account for all the good aid station food. I’m now going to assume I eat at least 100-200 calories at most aid stations. How about you?

In terms of food, I’m very much the same way as you Tim. I prefer to go for some of the more salty and savory foods early on in the race, saving the sweet stuff for when I need that kick. Although I don’t think I’ll be eating salami during the race, I really do enjoy cheese quesadillas, so fingers crossed they’ll have those again (thanks Andrew Knowles for making those at Heather aid!). I’ve also been experimenting with making my own energy bars which have had positive results so far.
Planning drop bags for FatDog is definitely not an easy task. With the limited number of spots for drop bags along the course I found myself carrying gear for quite a ways before or after I finished using it (e.g. sunglasses after dark or headlamp before dark). There’s really not much a runner can do about that though, other than plan and pace accordingly.
Figuring out shoes was my number one priority after last year’s FatDog race. Having sustained massive blistering on my toes by about the 90 mile mark, I was reduced to a slow march for the remaining 30 miles (all the glorious details in my FatDog race report part 3). So this year I’ll be using Altra shoes with Injinji toesocks. I think this combination will give me what I was lacking last year - space in the toe box with adequate tightness around the heel and midfoot. Plus the toe socks should stop the toes from rubbing against one another.
The blister issue gave rise to something else unexpected. The pain and the resulting pace meant I was out on the course for hours longer than anticipated, and that meant I was getting more and more sleep deprived. 36 hours into the race I was completely exhausted and had to take a 15 minute nap on the trail (not recommended due to bears/cougars). I had to repeat this at Camp Mowich and Skyline Junction aid stations. This year I’m hoping that with better shoe/sock choices and more training I will be able to avoid the whole sleeping thing altogether. What’s your take on sleeping during a long race like FatDog?

Is that why Ultra signup is predicting you'll come in 10 hours faster than last year! Interestingly, it also predicts that I'll come in 3 minutes slower than last year.
I’ve realized that I won’t sleep in a race, so I’m not going to try. As long as I get a good sleep the night before.
It’s good that you’re planning to avoid the naps, though we all loved the silver-superman look you were sporting at the end last year. (to the reader - you should check out the video from last year)
What’s your favorite part of the race? I love the four mountains we go over and the views are wonderful. Looks like it will be a week after the full moon so we won’t have much moonlight.

My favourite section(s) of the race is the alpine meadows for sure! As you go over the mountain peaks the variation in trail, flowers and views is spectacular. Also, the Pasaytan River crossing was refreshing and surprisingly fun since I hadn’t done that before!

Yea, the crossing is pretty easy and last year Don had his BBQ going on the other side with hot dogs. Hey, we should probably talk about the route as there’s a lot of people coming from out of town. Some of the blogs do an ok job but you and I may have a different take on it.

Section 1, Start to Ashnola: The climb is straightforward enough. There’s a couple boggy sections so don’t get your feet wet. Then you pass the first aid station (only water available in Section 1) and you quickly reach alpine and you’re running on boulders over the shoulder of Red Mtn. The descent is pretty smooth with a nice grade; overall quite runnable - just don’t push it. This whole first section is single track of varying width, with some short portions of jeep road at the very beginning.

Section 2, Ashnola to Pasaytan River Crossing to Bonnevier: Leaving Ashnola it looks grim (logging road) but the climb improves and you end up in a very cool, burnt-out forest complete with babbling brook and lots of wild flowers! It’s 7km up to the Trapper aid station, then 23+ km to the Calcite station. After Trapper aid the trail is well defined until you get close to the lake, then you need to be very careful looking for markers as you make your way around the left side of the lake. Here the trail becomes less defined as it passes through a boggy section - careful or you’ll soak your feet. Once you get to the far side (~30 min around the lake) then the flagging is obvious again and you soon reach the second high point, Flat Top Mountain. The descent from there is long and has some sustained steep bits where you can use up your knee muscles if you’re not careful. There is a creek 4-6 km before Calcite, so fill up a bit if you want to. Tim is usually hot at this point and rolls around in the stream. After the creek, the descent is very mellow all the way to Calcite aid station. Last year Terry Bremner, owner of the outstanding juice company Bremner’s Juice (and a runner himself), was there to greet you and you know he had juice and fresh blueberries for us!
After Calcite it’s really fast down to the river and across then only a couple km to Bonnevier. This is the first of the 2 road sections.

Section 3-4, Bonnevier to Cascade: I group these two sections as it is the longest stretch between drop-bags. Stock up on gels and food at Bonnevier! You start climbing very slowly on a logging road then suddenly you turn left onto a trail and cross a creek (Tim filled up) and you start climbing. No more water (creeks or otherwise) until you get to Heather aid station at the top. Things are pretty minimal there; you can have a good bite to eat but don’t expect to take too many gels away. Then it’s night-time running through alpine meadows (narrow single track) with a gentle downhill for a while. The crew do a good job marking it and you’ll soon get to a cliff with lots of flagging. This is a steep, rocky descent down to Nicomen Lake (and the most remote aid station). Matt Barry will be there to greet you, feed you some chips, possibly heckle you (if he knows you), and kick you out. From Nicomen Lake it’s a long run to Cayuse Flats (you cross a few creeks along the way) and the trail is wide and nicely graded. Cayuse Flats is a good rest stop, but you should try not to stay too long as there’s a roller coaster section up next that takes you to Cascade and another drop bag. This section is surprisingly difficult following the long downhill from Nicomen, so be prepared. Cascade has lots of parking and will have lots of people to cheer you on.

Section 5, Cascade to Skyline: This Section has two aid stations along it (Sumalo Grove and Shawatum). Leaving Cascade you cross the highway and run along the pavement a few km to Sumalo. From here the trail gets pretty flat with a few ups-and-downs (one is quite steep, but short) as you follow the meandering Skagit River all the way to Shawatum. At one point you leave the side of the river and the running gets really flat. There is one water drop a few kms before Shawatum (Update: this is being removed for the 2014 race). This is where a lot of runners have their low point in the race (note the double entendre). Don’t get stuck here, just a quick stop and plan to take your rest at Skyline. The trail has a bit more variety between Shawatum and Skyline (even though the road connecting the two is dead flat) and there is one creek crossing a little ways before Skyline. The trails through this section alternate between the usual single track and some wider paths, all quite runnable if you’ve got the energy. Carl and John will be at Skyline with stacks of food. They are two very experienced 100 milers and they’ve been talking about having a stove with eggs, sausages, burritos...
You’re almost home!

Section 6, To the end: This starts with a long gradual climb. It’s technically runnable but the climb starts at mile 101 in the race so chances are you may not be up to running. The trail is in great shape. As you get up to alpine hopefully you can see the surrounding peaks so long as it isn’t dark yet. After the first peak you descend into Camp Mowich aid station (another remote aid station with chips and water). You climb up from Camp Mowich, then do an annoying drop and climb (following the ridge) up to Peter at the Skyline 1,2 junction aid station (chips, water, bananas). When you get to Peter you’re (almost) smiling cause you know it’s shorter to go to the finish line than to go back or hike out. Now it’s a few more ups and downs along the ridge until you crest the final sub-peak and it’s all downhill to the lake. This downhill starts steep and rocky, but soon turns smooth and very gradual (annoyingly gradual!). No matter what time of day, you’ll know when you get to the lake, and then it’s a short run around the lake to the finish. If you made it this far, you know you’re a FatDog!

Good luck to all aspiring FatDogs!

*****A big thanks to Tim for his amazing contribution!*****

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

My First Ultra - Dirty Duo 50k

After finishing the Dirty Duo 50k, I was inspired to read a little bit more about the great wide world of Ultra running I had just become a part of. It was during this search that I found many articles with advice on how to train for your first 50k, and what not to do before your first 50k. I chuckled as I read, thinking to myself that it might have been a smart idea to look this up BEFORE my race.

My favourite piece of advice by far was a gentle reminder to have everything ready a few days prior to your race, so that the night before can be nice and relaxing, and you aren't running around stressing out about not having everything, or not knowing where you're going.
Trail Effect Blog: Jenna Bowling finishing the Dirty Duo 50km Ultra
Coming in to the finish line with a smile on!

Here's how my pre-race prep went.
1. Get home from work later than usual
2. Receive nice laminated map of trail route (Thank you Chris!)
3. Get slightly intimidated by the fact I don't know the entire route
5. Proceed to locate every piece of running gear I own, drag it out into the living room, and panic because I don't know what to wear if it pours rain on me for 8 hours. (Of course there was a heavy rainfall warning)
6. Feel like nothing is going right, and that I haven't trained properly, and that I don't know what I'm doing, and I might not make it
7. Finally calm down, realize I've run the majority of the route, and settle on bringing all the rain gear I own in a drop bag.

Despite a chaotic night before the race, the morning of the race went well. We ate our usual pre-race rice (It's liquid gold pre-race - you should try it), and we were on our way.

I took the beginning of the race fairly slowly, knowing I had a better chance of running pain free if I paced myself. I settled in near the back of the pack with people who seemed more than happy to walk the hills. It was a nice warm day out, and there was no rain to be seen (YET!). It wasn't long before I took to running the hills (Still pain free! Woohoo!).

I continued on, motivated by a girl ahead of me who was running all the hills. There were a few where I wanted to stop and walk, but its always motivating trying to catch someone!

I had planned to eat every hour to start. Which worked for the first two hours, and then I lost track of time and just ate when I felt hungry or tired, and that seemed to work well enough. One of my favourite parts of the day was eating a vanilla clif shot from the second aid station, and realizing it tasted just like vanilla pudding. There is nothing better than running around in the woods while eating vanilla pudding. There's another one of those things you shouldn't do in an ultra - do not eat new foods for the first time during a race... EXCEPT when they taste like vanilla pudding. Jenna: 1 Ultra: 0.

Trail Effect Blog: Chris Cochrane running the Dirty Duo 50km Ultra
Chris on Bottletop Trail
I got to the nasty uphill section (aka the hill that never ends) feeling good, at this point it was starting to drizzle. I ran where I could, and walked when my glutes wouldn't let me run anymore. Then came the technical downhill section - Ned's Atomic Dustbin. I have to thank Chris for this again, usually I'm chasing him down this hill trying not to trip and fall and die as he barrels down like he's indestructible. This time I was the machine! I flew down there with no troubles and no pain, ready for my second lap!
It was at this point I decided that a 25 km race would have been awesome.... do I have to do 50?

By now it was pouring rain and I hadn't seen any 50k runners in a while; I sort of felt like I was the only one out there.The last 25k weren't all that eventful. The hills were harder, and it felt like I was walking more of them. My energy was dropping fast as I approached the hill that never ends for a second time. Nothing a little sugar and caffeine couldn't fix though! I knew once I got to the top the rest of the race was downhill! The second lap was made more fun by the increasing rain and mud puddles on the trail! That isn't even sarcastic. It was like being a little child stomping through the muddy trails.

I made it to the finish line in just over 6 hours, with the biggest smile on my face. I DID IT! You don't have to be superhuman to do Ultras, you just have to get out there and give it a shot (a vanilla clif shot...yummm)!

The Dirty Duo is a tough 50k, there are some gnarly uphills and some wicked downhills. But every rain soaked minute of it was FANTASTIC! The course was very well flagged, the aid stations were well placed and well stocked, and the volunteers were AMAZING! There was even a big lasagne feast after the race, which was delicious! Thank you Mountain Madness for putting on such a great race, you'll be seeing me again next year :)

Whens the next Ultra? Let'
s go let's go let's gooooooo!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

6 Running Tips to Keep You Moving!

These six running tips and tricks will keep you running so that you don't have to stop as often! We've covered quite the gamut in this post from running shoes and lacing tricks to injury prevention and stretching, and even some things you never considered eating during a run.
1. The Right Running Shoes for the Terrain
Running shoes are expensive! There is no question about that, but, to make matters worse, you may be having to replace them more often than necessary! Shoes are made with different types of rubber on the out-sole. The softness and stickiness of that rubber is designed for a specific type of terrain; harder rubbers are for running on concrete, and soft, sticky rubbers are more for trails.The issue is that using one type of shoe for all your different running can cause the sole to wear out faster than normal.
The Trail Effect Running Blog
Don't wear out your shoes prematurely - get the right ones!
For example, let's say you bought a pair of shoes designed more for trails. It has a soft rubber and some larger lugs on the bottom of the shoe. Every time you run on the road in these, the rubber will wear out faster than when running on the trails. Or conversely, you decide to run some technical trails in your road shoes. Because the sole is quite hard and smooth and provides less traction on the rocks and roots, there's a good chance you'll end up face down in the mud or rocks! OUCH!

So, although it might be painful on the wallet to buy multiple pairs of shoes at a time, it will ultimately save you money (and potential face injuries!). - Chris Cochrane's running shoe lacing preference
Ladder Lacing - my preferred system!
2. Running Shoe Lacing Variations 
Sometimes shoes just don't fit perfectly when you tie them up. Maybe the toe gets too tight when you cinch the upper section tight, or maybe there's a point where the laces just press in more than you'd like. Changing the way that you lace your shoes is a simple option to fix this!

There are literally hundreds of ways to lace your shoes. Ian's Shoelace Site provides a wide range of options to suit every lacing need. My favorite, by far, is the Ladder Lacing system, having adopted it for my Altra LonePeaks and my Inov8 RoadX 233's. It allows for tightening of specific areas of the foot and does a very good job of maintaining that difference during use. The only downside is that they can take a couple minutes to tighten when you put your shoes on. The Lace Lock idea actually forms the basis of the Ladder Lacing, but can be easily applied to any pair of shoes to keep them tight overall. If you've got a sensitive spot take a look at the Gap Lacing option, it might do the trick for you.

3. Runner's Lube (not what you think... well, sort of)
This is probably one of those topics that will freak some people out, but we really think it should be mentioned here. When running long distances (and sometimes not so long distances) you will be faced with chafing or blisters. Not only are these things uncomfortable, they can be quite dangerous, especially if a blister becomes an open wound!
Both issues are the result of friction between the skin and another surface or body part. And although nothing will replace proper well-fitting gear, using some type of lubricating substance on sensitive areas can make a world of difference! We're not talking that stuff you have hidden away from prying eyes (though Astroglide has been suggested in running forums), we're meaning products that are designed for running/exercise (e.g. Runner's Lube, BodyGlide or Chamois Butt'r). The good old standby, however, is Vaseline and it seems to be one of the most popular options for ultrarunners. Whatever you choose, don't forget to apply it before going running, and again partway through a lengthy run.

4. Variety doesn't just prevent boredom!
Avoid running injuries by adding variety your routine!
We all have our favourite running surface or route, but doing the same thing over and over can cause problems. Switching up your run route and/or the running surface can help you avoid injuries as well as keep you well rounded in terms of muscle strength. It's really quite simple; muscles we use grow and strengthen, while those that aren't used weaken. Weak muscles in specific areas have been linked to a number of common running problems. For example, weak quads (or mismatched medial vs lateral quad strength) have been linked to patellofemoral pain syndrome. Or, weak hip muscle have been linked to iliotibial band syndrome. By pre-emptively strengthening all your muscle groups by running on different surfaces, inclines/declines and varying your route you may be able to avoid some of these common problems.

Just remember, always adopt new running and training techniques slowly. This gives you time to strengthen the potentially weaker parts of your body and not cause injury when you're trying to avoid it. When in doubt, contact a certified trainer, your physiotherapist or your doctor - you know, someone whose job is to tell you what to do!

5. Stretching
Stretching has been at the center of controversy for quite a while. There are researchers, coaches and athletes that either swear by it or against it, but all for different reasons. Here I will present to you a good reason to stretch.
From the most up-to-date literature, and from speaking with a physiotherapist, it appears that normal static stretching doesn't do a whole lot in terms of affecting performance, and it only minimally  helps reduce soreness following exercise (we're talking 1% percent - not even really noticeable). However, if someone has tight/short muscles then stretching is recommended. A good example of this is how many people with desk jobs that are hunched over all day have tight pectoral muscles, and the solution to their problem is to stretch! Or alternately, use patello-femoral pain syndrome as an example in which stretching is usually a suggested treatment along with strengthening.

So we know that stretching can help solve problems caused by tight muscles, but wouldn't it make sense that stretching could prevent these sorts of things? The answer is yes it can! Now obviously you don't want to over-stretch as this can cause even greater issues, but holding a gentle stretch for 20-35 seconds won't do any harm! And it may even do some good.

6. Candy, Chips and Running CAN go together!
The Trail Effect Blog - Ultra Running Foods
Surprisingly not unlike some ultra aid stations!
Wait, before you go eating candy and chips on every run, read through the rest of this section!
You probably already know that your body uses energy when you run. This energy can come from different foods or energy stores and that's determined by your level of exertion and your level of fatigue. At high levels of exertion (eg. sprinting) your body relies primarily on simple sugars to help generate and replenish your energy, but at moderate levels of exertion your body uses a combination of sugars and fats. At low intensity, fat becomes more important, but it isn't the sole source of energy by any means. To top all that off, your body has a store of glycogen that it can use for energy, and this store gets depleted as you exercise at moderate to high intensities. Glycogen depletion will lead to extreme fatigue, and that's clearly not good for your race time!

For long, sustained running events it's necessary to replenish your energy so you don't completely deplete your glycogen stores. The shorter the run the simpler the food should be. For example, when I run for a couple hours I will eat a gel and some Clif shot bloks, but if I'm going for a long one, I'll eat Clif bars as well. Obviously, if you're running an ultra marathon for a full day (or more!) you're going to get tired of only eating gels and bars. That's where the candy and chips come in! Candy provides extremely simple sugars which can be good to get you out of a rut, and the chips are both salty and contain high levels of fat which are good sustained energy. My favourite ultra food has to be cheese quesadillas though! The protein and fat in the cheese, and the carbohydrates in the tortilla make for a well-rounded and tasty snack that will keep you going for miles!

Run far my friends!


Friday, March 14, 2014

Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters Review

Last week I got a pair of the Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters for trail running and I have since tested them to their limits! The testing for this gear review involved two 1+ hour training runs, both involving primarily trail running, but also some road. The trails in those two runs were a combination of soft, muddy trails with sporadic rocks, and some gravel path. The testing also included a 50km trail race on some of the gnarliest, most technical trails in North Vancouver.
My brand new OR Ultra Trail Gaiters

Design and Materials of the OR Ultra Trail Gaiters

The OR Ultra Trail Gaiter is designed to be breathable and lightweight while providing protection from debris and mud. The black upper material is both stretchy and water resistant. These gaiters attach to the laces at the front of the shoe using two metal hooks, and attach at the back using velcro and an anti-slip silicone print (see picture below). An additional cord is provided to attach the gaiter around the instep of your shoe. The top of the gaiter has a drawcord to allow easy tightening. And for the safety conscious, there is a reflective pattern on the upper for when, you know, you're running along a trail and you need to warn vehicles of your presence... OK, maybe not the most useful feature for a "trail gaiter", but could be worse.


These Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters usually retail for about $50, so they're on the higher end for a pair of gaiters. Fortunately, we managed to get a good deal from an online retailer and ended up paying about $25. If you're just looking for a cheap pair of gaiters, then these are probably not the ones for you (perhaps try dirty girl gaiters instead), but if you're wanting something more skookum then try these out. Plus they come with OR's Infinite Guarantee.

Bottom view of Outdoor Research Ultra Trail Gaiters

My Experience

I'm lucky enough to be running in Altra's these days which come with preinstalled velcro on the back of the shoe, so I didn't have to do any prep to be able to use my Ultra Trail Gaiters. However, for most individuals they will have to apply one of the supplied velcro strips to each of their shoes before using their gaiters. This could be annoying is you run trails in multiple pairs of shoes or switch shoes often. Nonetheless, the velcro seems to really stay in place and keep the gaiter from moving. The metal hooks keep the toe of the gaiter in place really well, and don't seem to bother my foot at all! Plus, the mouldable toe piece helps keep the sides down against the shoe. As for the upper, you can't even tell they're there - they're really comfortable! Even after 5 hours of running they were fine!

Most importantly, my ultra trail gaiters did their job perfectly, keeping out any and all debris and mud from my shoes! I concede that this is probably hard to accurately gauge as I don't always collect debris in my shoes, so not collecting any isn't as noticeable (you just don't think about things that aren't there!).  That being said I think they really do work as I can't see why they wouldn't given their design. I could definitely get used to wearing these gaiters for all my trail runs; it's just nice not to half to worry about stopping to clear debris or any such nonsense on a long run!

So they feel great and do their job, two things that would normally be sufficient to receive full marks in
Instep cords frayed and broke, luckily they're not really needed!
my books, but I did have one issue with them... I opted to use the instep cord to help prevent dirt/mud creeping up between the gaiters and my shoe, but by half way through the race I noticed that the cords were severely frayed. In fact, when I stopped to check them, the one had worn all the way through! Now I know that the race course was extremely rocky and technical, but if I'm able to wear through them in only about 4.5 hours of running (2 training runs plus half of the race), the cords were destined to fail eventually. On a positive note, even without the cord the gaiters stayed in place and kept me debris free, so they really won't be missed.

Overall Pros and Cons of Ultra Trail Gaiters

On the positive side of things, these ultra trail gaiters are unbelievably comfortable! And they work to keep out debris as far as I can tell. Conversely, the fraying of the instep cord is a bit of a downer, and quite inconsistent with my experience with Outdoor Research gear. All said, I'd definitely recommend these gaiters to any trail runner due to the gaiter's comfort and ability keep out debris while on a long run. I just wouldn't expect the instep cord to be useful for very long (not that you need it).

Welcome to debris-free running!


Friday, March 7, 2014

How NOT to train for your first 50k.

It's the night before my first 50k...

Here's how I planned my training per week:
- 2x trail runs in the north shore mountains
- 1x long weekend run
- 1x short quick run
- 2x ultimate games

Here's how it actually went:
- Signed up for Bagel Chase (See post here)
- Day 1 (Feb 1st): Ran 40k with a nice 7k hike in the middle.
- Day 2: Tried to set course record by running as many laps as I could in a day, successfully completed 16 laps (80k)
- Took next 4 weeks off of running due to overuse of my right tibialis anterior (surprise!)
- Completed a 1 hour run, one week before the race (success!)
- Was ridiculously sore from that run, and had pain in the ball of my left foot (likely from overcompensating for the other leg for a month)
- Two days later tried second run - with less success than the first - barely made it an hour due to general soreness and pain in my foot (On the bright side, my tib. ant was okay!)
- Spent rest of week freaking out, trying to figure out if the pain in my foot is a sign I shouldn't be doing the race
- Decide to do the race anyways

I'll let you know how it goes after the race tomorrow!


PS - Who's idea was this?
PPS - Why must there be a heavy rainfall warning?
PPPS - Somebody save me!