Google AdSense

Amazon

Thursday, January 17, 2019

2019 Race Schedule, So Far...


“You have to set goals that are almost out of reach. If you set a goal that is attainable without much work or thought, you are stuck with something below your true talent and potential.” —Steve Garvey


So after much waffling and indecision, when the opening hour of the Eastern States 100 registration was upon us last weekend, I decided that again for the third consecutive year I would go all in on the PA Triple Crown Series. A few days later, I stumbled upon a last person standing event, Ragged Runner, in CT not too far from home in NJ. It is only two weeks after Worlds End which is not ideal, but as much as I have wanted to run a race that used this format I couldn’t resist and registered within a couple hours of learning of the event. And with that decision, my 2019 race schedule is for the most part pretty much planned with the exception of a longer fall race. I’m considering Beebee Farm 48 hour or Black Forest 65ish miler in PA. Since one of my 2019 goals is to run my longest/farthest run ever, I’m leaning towards Beebee Farm 48 hour since I think I could accomplish that there. However, if I happen to accomplish that goal at Ragged Runner (last person standing) in June, I may opt to close the season with midnight stroll through Rocksylvania and just run the Black Forest in PA.

Definitely:
April 20 - Hyner 50K - PA
April 28 - NJ Marathon - NJ (shooting for marathon PR)
June 1 - Worlds End 100K - PA
June 15 - Ragged Runner (last person standing) - CT
August 10 - Eastern States 100 - PA


Possibly: 
September 26 - Beebee Farm 48 hour - VT
October 6 - Black Forest - P
A



Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Are Treadmills Torture? Not With Zwift!




Disclaimer: I received a Zwift runpod to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!





Most trail runners I know tend to have a pretty negative opinion of treadmill running, some I would dare to say even hate it. Maybe it’s because of what is missing from the running experience when on a lush trail in the sun compared to the typical gym environment in which you find treadmills to commonly occur:  no fresh air, no wind in your hair, no sounds of birds calling or water flowing. Maybe it’s because of what the gym environment adds:  “gymtimidation”, all of the current hottest music tracks (sorry, not a fan of most), scents of the locker room, muscle heads admiring themselves on the expansively mirrored walls. Maybe it has something to do with social anxiety and the feeling of freedom that is provided by running alone outdoors. Or just maybe it’s due to the fact that these dreadmill hating trail runners can’t overcome the fact that the origin of the treadmill can be traced back to devices used as a form of punishment and prison labor in the early Victorian period in Britain. British engineer Sir William Cubitt is credited for the introduction of treadmills as a form of prison labor in 1818. The penal treadmills were used to grind grain in 44 English prisons at their peak. Over time, the practice waned and was ultimately abolished in 1902 when Britain passed the Prisons Act (1898).


By Google scan of 1864 book by Henry Mayhew & John Binny - https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=TGAJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA306

Whatever the reason or reservations trail runners have for avoiding treadmill running, there is now a tool available that aims to improve the overall treadmill experience. The team at Zwift has created a product that virtually transports a treadmill run to almost anywhere in the world. Popular routes from the US include Richmond and New York. Popular oversea courses feature Innsbruck and London. The fantasy island of Watopia is even an option for zifters.


And the benefits don’t stop at running virtual courses. Zwift offers structured training workouts to help you prepare for your next 5K, half marathon, or triathlon. Additionally, the Zwift platform also offers a community to train with. If you want to run with friends who are on the other side of the world, Zwift makes that possible with virtual group runs.





Since I’m not a particularly huge fan of treadmill running I thought Zwift would be perfect for me to make any treadmill running I do more enjoyable. Unfortunately, the required app that syncs with the Zwift runpod was not compatible with my Android phone (LG Stylo 2 plus) so I was never able to personally experience the Zwift platform. As of now the app is only fully available on the Apple store. The Android app is currently still in beta form and from what I could gather is only compatible with newer Android devices. There is also the PC or Mac version of the software that can be used if your treadmill set up allows (I couldn’t manage to pull this off at my local Planet Fitness).


Although I wasn’t able to partake in the excitement of going for a Zwift run, plenty of my fellow BibRave Pros have and had lots of positive things to say about it. Heck, they even made me feel a little jealous of a treadmill run?! Here’s a sampling of some of their reviews after experiencing some Zwift virtual runs.













Sunday, January 6, 2019

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019



It’s now 2019, time to review and reflect on 2018 and plan for the upcoming year of running adventures and goals! It’s an exciting and fun time to reminisce over the past year of accomplishments while anticipating the excitement of working towards another year of big goals. Although I did not accomplish my two largest goals in 2018 (1: to finish the PA Triple Crown Series, 2: PR a 24 hour race) I’m not disappointed. I’m mainly fine with not hitting these targets as it was for the most part caused by circumstances completely out of my control. The primary circumstance being that Eastern States 100, the final race of the PA Triple Crown Series, was cancelled making the goal of officially finishing the series an impossibility. 

The second goal didn’t happen basically as a repercussion of the first circumstance. Since ES100 was cancelled I jumped into another race (Twisted Branch 100k) about the same time to replace it, but I still wanted a 100 miler so I also registered for Mines of Spain 100. With the rearrangements made to my race schedule, I couldn’t find a 24 hour race that worked into my plan where I felt like I could accomplish my goals there. Every race I looked at didn’t allow enough time before or after another race for me to feel like I’d have a performance there I’d be proud of. That explanation for the second goal sounds a bit like a condaluted excuse, but looking back at 2018 as a whole I’m proud of the training miles I put in and my performance at all six of the races I did run.

Total Running Miles = 1828

Races:
  1. Hyner 50k (32/268) 5:42:02
  2. Worlds End 100k (13/100) 14:18:46
  3. Fat Sass Switchback Challenge 6 hour (2/23) 26 miles
  4. Twisted Branch 100k (8/110) 12:56:21
  5. Squatchung Surprise 6 hour (1/32) 38.1 miles
  6. Mines of Spain 100 miler (2/35) 22:38:10

Scott Snell
January 6, 2019


Monday, December 31, 2018

2019 Goals Continued...



So if you read my last post you may be wondering which race schedule (options 1 and 2 below) I opted for in 2019. When it came down to making a decision, the cost played a role in my decision. I just couldn’t justify paying the $200 entry fee for a 48 hour race that consists of a one mile loop with a single aid station (sorry NJ Trail Series). When compared to the $160 fee for a beautifully scenic and nonrepetitive 62 mile course with aid stations conveniently spaced the entire distance, Worlds End 100k seems to me to be the better value. Although earlier I was planning on going full Triple Crown series route or going with option 2, I’m now considering a third option: running the first two races of the series and then opting for the August Last Man Standing Ultramarathon in Maine rather than Eastern States. Eastern States registration doesn’t open until January, so I guess I’ve still some time to finalize this decision. I’m still undecided, but have narrowed it down to option 1 or 3.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Giving The Gift of Aftershokz This Christmas


Disclaimer: I received Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless bone conduction headphones to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


This holiday season I was treated to the opportunity to test out a pair of Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless bone conduction headphones. What the heck are bone conduction headphones you may ask? I asked the same thing when I first heard of them. The Aftershokz development team has created what is in my opinion an entirely new category of sound delivery by sending mini vibrations via the cheekbones to the inner ears. By doing so, the patented design of Aftershokz bone conduction headphones are able to deliver high quality sound without covering or blocking the ears. What does this mean? Greater comfort and situational awareness! If you’ve worn earbuds for a long period of time you’re familiar with how uncomfortable they can become. Aftershokz solves this issue by not requiring anything to be inserted into the ear; the headphones rest comfortably over the ear and on the cheekbone. This also allows the user to still hear what’s going on around them increasing their awareness of their surroundings and quite possibly their safety. These are two huge benefits of the Aftershokz bone conduction sound delivery system and basically resolve my two complaints I have with anyone who wears headphones in public. I know, now I must come clean with my complaints:
  1. People who run, walk, or hike trails with headphones on playing at a level that they cannot hear others announce themselves to pass. I try my best to be civil, but if I’m shouting asking to pass on a narrow trail and I get no sign of recognition please do not be surprised that you are surprised when I hop around you. I did not do it to intentionally startle you. I simply wanted to get around you. 
  2. People who play their music through a speaker for all to enjoy. If you like running or hiking with music that’s fine, but please do not subject the rest of us to your preferences. You are not that important. 

Now that I probably sound like a grumpy old curmudgeon (my apologies), it’s time to talk about the #GiveGoodVibes campaign that Aftershokz ran this holiday season. Starting on black Friday and continuing while supplies lasted, Aftershokz sent an open box pair of wireless Trekz Titanium headphones to anyone who ordered a pair of Trekz Air headphones free of charge. The free pair of Trekz Titanium headphones was provided to allow the buyer the opportunity to pay forward the good will and gift them to someone special. The sentiment of the #GiveGoodVibes campaign is enough to grow any grinch’s heart! And I must say that trying out these headphones and then being able to share them with someone special was one of the highlights of my holiday season. Receiving the gift of having a gift to share brought me more pleasure than many other gifts I’ve received. And knowing that the pair of Trekz Titanium headphones that I gifted are enjoyed and improve my lovely wife’s running experiences makes me even happier than using them myself!


Because all this may sound like I’m blowing smoke up someone’s ass, you may be questioning how great can a pair of headphones that you wear on your cheek bones sound. I was skeptical of the sound quality as well until I used my Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones. Let’s just say that all of my doubts vanished as soon as I had Andrew WK’s “She Is Beautiful” flowing through my cheek bones to my ear drums in perfectly clear sound with full and deep bass as well. The fact that this sound delivery system works so well truly amazes me. Not only is the sound quality great and honestly better than I expected, but everything else with the headphones works flawlessly as well. Even with my older, lower end LG android phone the bluetooth connectivity worked flawlessly. And the range is pretty impressive as well. I wanted to test it out so I left my phone at one end of the house and walked towards the opposite end of the house wearing the Trekz Air headphones. I nearly made it to the opposite end of the house (about 50 feet away with walls between) until they began to cut out. The headphones also offer all of the control options you would need to adjust volume, skip tracks, receive calls, and much more without having to use your phone. Even though I tend to lean more towards being a bit of a minimalist runner, I do enjoy running with music under certain conditions. And after experiencing the Aftershokz Trekz Air headphones, I can safely say that they will be my go to and top recommendation for anyone who enjoys listening to music during their outdoor activities.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

WIN Sports Detergent








Disclaimer: I received WIN Sports Detergent to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!


If your household is anything like mine, you’re told somewhat frequently by your wife that your feet are gross and that you stink. And I’m talking stink in a literal sense here. Well, there’s not much I can do about my feet being gross. I have every intention to continue to run ultras which will most likely mean that I’m going to continue to have missing toenails and black blood blisters under some of the toenails that remain. Which, in my wife’s opinion, is gross. In an effort to compromise, I could going forward quit making videos of my kids pulling off my toenails, but they just seem to enjoy it so much that I would feel terrible to deprive them of that! So the gross feet thing is probably here to stay. Thankfully I now have the option to do something about the stank I bring to the table with the help of WIN Sports Detergent!

I’m not going to lie, I like to run and I like to run far. That means getting in long runs in hot weather. This tends to lead to sweating. Sweating for hours on end in some cases. I can speak from experience that after a certain amount of time of running and sweating the effectiveness of deodorant tends to decrease. I don’t mind it so much as I’m usually running by myself outdoors where no one else has to smell me and I become acclimated to my BO as it gets worse over the course of a long run. However, my family is not so fortunate. I get home exhausted and happy only to be yelled at by my four year old son “Daddy! You stink! Go take a shower!” My wife complains of how she has to wash my running clothes separately from all the other laundry to avoid contaminating the rest of the wash with my stench. What is one to do about the rank odor of ultrarunning? Well, I’ve been lucky enough to be provided the opportunity to test out WIN Sports Detergent as BibRave Pro and thus far I’m very pleased by the results.

                                         
See how happy it makes my wife?!

WIN Sports Detergent removes sweat, oils, bacteria, and salts from active clothing and in the process also removes the unattractive smells as well. WIN was designed to separate oils from the synthetic materials that activewear is made from while standard everyday use detergents are more generalized for cleaning a variety of fabric types. WIN was also designed to restore elasticity to activewear materials. I can’t say I’ve noticed a rebound in the elasticity of my activewear, but the improvement in scent is quite noticeable. I’m happy about it, but I’d say that my wife’s happiness about it is far greater!

You can try WIN Sports Detergent out for yourself and use “RAVE4WIN” to get 20% off any WIN purchase (individual bottle, 2-pack, or 4-pack). Offer is good through 1/15/19. Limit one use per household. Also, if you’re feeling lucky you can win yourself a bottle of WIN (normal or fragrance free). Just go to my Instagram or Twitter sweepstakes posts. Like the post and tag a friend in the comments to enter. Hit both to double your chances! The winner’s shipping address must be in the lower 48 of the United States to be eligible. Entries accepted through 12/30/18.

              






Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2019 Goals



Disclaimer: I received free entry to Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

"Perseverance

Against all opposition
Crushing all limitations
Pure strength through solitude
Discipline and determination"
- Hatebreed - Perseverance -


With Thanksgiving over it is officially time to get ready for Christmas. Additionally, it is also time to make goals and put together a race schedule for 2019. As I begin writing this post I am in the midst of making the decision of what my race calendar and running goals will be for next year. And I will have to come to a decision by the end of the week as that is when registration opens for one route I am considering. It seems a bit crazy to plan out next year so early, but with registration for races that are likely to sell out quickly opening so far in advance, there really isn’t another option if you want to get into certain races. As of now, my only definite races are the Hyner 50k (April 20) and the Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon (April 28). Beyond that, I have two paths I’m considering. So, undecided what I will decide come Saturday when registration opens for Worlds End 100k, here are the two plans I’m considering.
  • Finish out the Pennsylvania Triple Crown Series
    • Hyner 50k (April 20)
    • Worlds End 100k (June 1)
    • Eastern States 100 Mile (August 10)
  • Focusing on timed and elimination race formats
    • Three Days At The Fair 48 Hour (May 17)
    • Last Man Standing Ultramarathon (August 31)
Obviously, as with everything in life, there are pros and cons to both options. I’ve run the PA Triple Crown Series and I loved every race course. However, I’ve been itching to try a timed event for awhile and I really like the idea of the last man standing format event as well. I think both would turn out to be a lot of fun and I’d like to try out some racing formats that are new to me. I’m afraid of ultrarunning beginning to feel routine if I go the PA triple crown route again for the third year in a row (the only reason I didn’t finish it last year was because Eastern States 100 was cancelled). So, maybe I’m leaning towards option 2 at this point. Also, given the timing of the events, trying to do both options in the same year would most likely be foolhardy and end with me disappointed in how I performed at the end of all the races. Seriously, two weeks after a 48 hour race to go into Worlds End 100k then three weeks after Eastern States 100 until attempting a last man standing event? Sounds like a plan for disaster and likely a good dose of misery. So it will most definitely be one or the other, not both. 

As for other running goals for 2019, I have only one and it is not trail or ultrarunning related. I want to PR a marathon. It will have been 10 years since I have run my one and only official marathon race in March of next year. Ever since then I have wondered if and how much I could improve on that finishing time of 3:43. I hope to find out next year at the Novo Nordisk NJ Marathon. However, the timing is terrible as it is eight days after the Hyner 50k. Regardless, I still aim and hope to run a marathon PR time there. The poor timing isn’t due to poor planning, more just a matter of choice and accepting opportunities as they arise. I registered for Hyner 50k early this year as it sells out quickly and I dare to say it is my favorite 50K course I have run. Then more recently I was offered the opportunity to run the Novo Nordisk NJ Marathon as a BibRavePro with my registration fee covered. It was hard to say no to that offer even if the timing was less than ideal. So that’s the plan and I’m sticking to it! Wish me luck! Also, even though I am leaning slightly towards option 2 at this point, I’m open to any advice or recommendations as to which option I should choose.