With only 16 days left until The Beast of Burden 24-hour race there is not much more I can do to prepare as far as my fitness goes. As for that, I'm either ready or I'm not. I think I am ready. But the one thing I can't control, Mother Nature, still has the ability to make or break the run for me. So every run is still a gear-test run for me. I want to be as prepared as I can be. I have been running in some pretty extreme cold and windy conditions, so I think I am ready for that. The one thing that I haven't had much of a chance to do is run in deep snow. In December we did have some pretty excellent snow that I could have run in, but I was remiss and opted for skiing and snowshoeing at that time. And then we had our mid-winter thaw which brought some pretty good rain, which melted the snow. FINALLY, yesterday we got a good wallop of the white stuff and I got my chance. So I headed out for one of my favorite loops, a 7.5-miler on seasonal roads which are not plowed in the winter. It was 28 degrees F and there was a good 5-6" base of snow. Well, first of all, it was harder than I had anticipated - even more tiring than snowshoeing. So the "run" turned into more of a "hike-run", which was OK, since I still got in the time on my feet.
So here is my gear-test report card:
1. SNEAKERS: A+. I wore the INOV-8 X-talon 212s and they worked fabulously. The grippy lugs on the soles gave excellent traction even in the deep snow.
2. GAITERS: A. I wore a pair of ankle-high gaiters from Eastern Mountain Sports which kept my ankles dry and kept the snow out of the shoes, but they were a bit warm and my pant-legs around my ankles were noticeably wet from the sweat.
3. SOCKS: A+. I wore the Seirus StormSocks which kept my feet dry and warm from the snow. Again, with the 28 degree temps, my feet did get a little sweaty, but not bad.
4. CLOTHING: A. I was quite comfortable with a pair of spandex shorts, lined wind-pants, coolmax shirts, and my new Red Ledge shell for a windbreaker (which also did not absorb the falling snow!). Even though I was sweating I really didn't notice it much while out and was never cold or uncomfortable. However, I was surprised when I got home and found out how wet my shirts were! Something to think about if the temps were colder, although the sweat-factor when running on the flat Erie Canal towpath should be less than it was running on my hilly home course.
I also wore just my waistpack with a water bottle, since I didn't fear there would be any bottle-freezing going on. This worked fine and I will bring this with me to the race in the event that it isn't freezing out. My final conclusion: bring everything to the race.
"Big occasions and races which have been eagerly anticipated almost to the point of dread, are where great deeds can be accomplished." Jack Lovelock