Friday night arriving at the hotel, I was still limping around and when I sat on the end of the bed and tried to straighten my leg, I still couldn't do so between the combination of pain and swelling. I thought to myself, I wouldn't dare chance a training run with an injury like this, but what about a race. Is it worth it? I don't want to put myself out of commission for a month or, worse, into the operating room. I went to bed, leaving my fate in the hands of a higher power and my body's own recuperative abilities.
Saturday I got up at around 6 thanks to the +1's motto of "if you aren't ridiculously early, you're late." (ok, I made that up) I snarfed down a hard-boiled egg, the second one got frozen at some point, which makes the texture beyond gross. I ate two gluten-free pamela's mix and chocolate chip pancakes in the car along with a banana on my way to drop the +1 off at the start. She was supposed to run the 20 miler but had come down with a case of aquaphobia upon seeing the heavy rainfall that morning. Thankfully it was reduced to a drizzle by the time we got to start, so I pushed her out of the car and headed to the parking area! Ok, it didn't quite happen like that, but I did have to send her on a guilt trip. I knew if she dropped out of the race, it would be very hard for me to move forward with mine.
So I headed off the parking area which is close to 10 miles from the race start. I got there and hung out in the car for a bit trying to decide on my gear choice. By this time, it had mostly stopped raining but still looked like it could open up at any moment and the temperature was around 38 according to the car. Initially I had geared up in my green sleeveless Saucony SpeedLite shirt, and my REI Airflyte running jacket. I was way too cold just standing around in this, so I added my REI silk on top under the shirt and jacket. This still left me shivering a bit waiting for the bus. I also wore my Mizuno headband and my Outdoor Research Seattle Sombrero. This was my secret weapon for torrential downpours and I was kind of disappointed it had mostly stopped raining. I was really looking forward to slogging around in this goofy hat and my new jacket. I'll list what I actually wore for the race and comment on each below. I stuffed the sombrero in my drop bag before the race as it wasn't raining by this time, so there was no need for it. The only aid station is at the 5 mile mark, so I didn't bother figuring it into my plans, plus I like to duplicate my training on race day.
1. Mizuno Breath Thermo Headband
This is my favorite headband. I wear it anytime the temperature drops into the 40's. It gets super warm when wet and is easily looped around my arm if I get too hot. I wore it the whole race, but I pulled it up over my ears at some point thanks to my overdressing.
2. Bolle Parole sunglasses (my eyes tear up like crazy in cold weather)
I always wear sunglasses when I run in cold weather due to how much my eyes tear. I don't know if this is related to wearing contacts or what, but anytime it's cold outside I look like I've been crying if I have to walk anywhere. I stuffed these in a pocket at some point due to the course requirements. Since the hills were too steep for me to run, my glasses would fog up walking and then it would take too long for them to defog when I would start running again. I think I probably wore them for around 4 miles before this really became a problem.
3. REI Airflyte Running Jacket (eVent fabric, if you haven't heard about this fabric, you will soon!)
This is an AWESOME jacket. If you haven't heard of eVent fabric, well, that's because Goretex spends millions of dollars to make sure you don't. It breathes at least 2x better than Goretex and is super lightweight. If it had actually been raining this would have been awesome, but since we ended up with a dry day I should have left one of my upper layers in the car. I ran with the jacket open from the first mile on.
4. Saucony SpeedLite sleaveless shirt
This is the thinnest and lightest tech shirt I own, it can be a little sheer by itself but works great on hot days and in layering situations, or if you want to show off your nipples...
5. REI Silk long underwear top in natural
I should have left this in the car and gone with my original strategy, but I would have froze waiting around to start. I didn't want to strip it off at the starting line, but that's what I should have done. Oh well, something to remember for next year. It also seems to have a love for my shirt as the two bonded together and made blowing my nose on the hem of my shirt even more difficult than usual...yeah I said that...
6. REI silk long underwear bottoms in black (with a nice rip on the right calf)
These are super lightweight and do a great job of wicking moisture. Plus they don't hold onto water, so all the creek crossings are no problem.
7. Shorts with liner from Dicks (I don't know who makes these, but they have pockets)
A pretty standard pair of nylon shorts with a liner and pockets. They don't chafe and are long enough to wear when you aren't running
8. Balega lightweight trail socks
I'm a huge fan of Balega socks. They seem to have best combination of lightweight, cushioning and friction reduction. I was originally going to wear some wool socks, but the wool Balega socks I ordered still aren't here and the Smartwool socks I tried gave me some hotspots, but this could be the nature of wool, as it has a higher coefficient of friction than most synthetics. I look forward to trying my wool Balega's when they arrive.
9. New Balance MT101 shoes
I love these shoes, they are lightweight, and provide excellent foot protection. The cleats are minimal, but they provide just enough to keep you planted without slowing you down. They also have the widest toe box I've found in a lightweight trail shoe. I need a 2E normally and these are just wide enough that I can wear my actual size, as they don't come in additional widths. Also, the New Balance store can stretch them, which is what they did to mine when I bought them. Just something to keep in mind if you try them out of the box and have any rubbing issues.
10. 2x Nathan Quickdraw Elite
A great bottle, there is pocket for keys and solid nutrition plus a comfortable hand strap that doesn't move around. I filled one with water and the other with 1.5 scoops of Cytosport Monster Amino. Monster Amino is touted as a post-workout beverage, but it makes a great workout and race fuel. This allowed me to run right past the aid station at mile 5. I drink water like our labrador retriever, so I nearly drained both bottles by the finish.
11. Timex Global Trainer GPS
I got a great deal on this watch with the heart rate strap and other than reading a little short on distance, it does a great job. I use it all the time as a quick visual reference for my heart rate, distance and time.
I have to break this up into multiple posts. I'll try to figure out what I want to say about the race in the next one.