I did it again. I have signed up for something that seems impossible to do. I have signed up for an ultra marathon, which consists of me running for 6 hours on the roads and trails of Bristol, Rhode Island. SIX HOURS! What was I thinking? I must of blocked out my impulse decision, because when I received the Anchor Down Ultra postcard reminder in the mail, last week, all I could do…was stare…
Am I really doing this?
Last year, my big running hurdle was signing up for and completing the 17K Traprock trail race. When I was upgrading my running endurance for this race, I knew I had to condition myself throughout the winter months. Treadmill sessions and nighttime trail runs were all a part of my training plan. The change in season also made me realize I needed certain equipment to withstand the cold weather when I ran outside, so my Santa list and holiday baby wishes were chalk full of winter running gear!
Is anyone else as nuts as me and want to blaze the trails, this winter? If so, I have for you the trail running items that were the top performers for me and helped me reach my Traprock race goal:
1. Ice/Snow Spikes:
The Kahtoola MICROspikes did a marvelous job in the snow and ice, last year. I was happily surprised to see how well I stuck to the path I was running on, without hardly any effort. I also felt like a total bad-ass running through the woods with these mega spikes on my feet (fist pump).
2. Trail Running Socks:
Also in the picture, above, are my favorite trail running socks! I had purchased several types of socks that failed to stay up above my heel, while running. I, then, received the EMS Fast Mountain Lightweight Coolmax Quarter Socks as a birthday gift (thanks Erin) and never looked at any other running sock again. They are nicely insulated for the cold and the compression in the socks keep my feet feeling comfortable, in the harsh conditions.
3. The Outside Gear:
There was a constant balancing act during my outdoor runs of not being too cold during the start and to not overheat towards the end. Again, I purchased several types of clothing items that were unsuccessful. The only clothing that passed the test was the Old Navy Outside Active Gear. My fleece pullover, fleece band and compression leggings did a great job of getting me through the winter nighttime runs and weekend trail races!
4. My Headlight:
I learned a lot about running the trails in the dark, last year. One important lesson (and several falls later) was the ability to see the trail ahead of you, from a distance. For most of the season, I ran with the Energizer Vision LED Headlight and even though it served it’s purpose, at times, the amount of light was not sufficient enough to see the trail and the possible obstacles, ahead. I often had to also carry an additional hand-held flashlight to make up for the lack of light. When I knew I was running up and down an 1100 foot mountain for the Ragnar Trail New England, this past August, I decided to get a better headlight. I found the Cosmo Black Diamond Headlight and the difference was night and day (literally). I could see a lot farther ahead and all around me (so TAKE THAT – cliff that I didn’t fall from and snake I didn’t step on) #truestory.
A Hydration Waterpack:
When I was building up my endurance in the woods, last year, I didn’t really need a hydration pack until I started reaching into the 7-10 mile distances. I purchased the CamelBak Classic Hydration Waterpack and it has done a great job keeping me hydrated on the longer runs and races. It also has a handy pocketed area to hold your keys and such.
I hope this helps round out your own Santa list of things you may need for some outdoor trail romping! Now, I need to turn the tables around to any seasoned trail runners out there, because all I want for Christmas are my two trail shoes!
Does anyone have a great trail shoe recommendation?
So far my kicks have been; Adias, Hoka and Merrell. All of them had done their job, but none of them were outstanding enough for me to want to go back and buy the same pair, again. Once I get my ideal trail shoes, I’ll be able to tackle anything next year! But first, I have my very last race of 2016 to run with my holiday lovin’ #Runitlikeamom ladies, on New Years Eve. I’m looking forward to the great customs we drum up for this one, Sarah and Patty!
I will then run the first trail race, of 2017, with my girls from #Run169Towns in Narragansett, Rhode Island. They will also be joining me for the Traprock 17K, this year! We were able to convince another 169er to sign up, as well (total rock hands, Tara). I can’t wait to start up some trail group nighttime winter runs in the woods and ridge side adventures, again!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I have presents to wrap, egg nog to drink and holiday cards to write out with Christmas right around the corner. Until I see you trail peeps at the next big race, I want to wish…happy winter trails to all, and to all, a good night!
Disclaimer: No solicitation going on here, folks. It’s just me and my thoughts. Thanks for reading!