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Showing posts with label bibrave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bibrave. Show all posts

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Post Inspiration 4 St. Jude Fundraising Effort - Asking Billionaires For Help


As some of you may know, earlier this year I attempted to tie in a fundraising effort with several of my races. I set up a St. Jude Heroes fundraising page so all donations would go directly to and benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital®. After that I linked it to a Facebook fundraiser page to make it easier for people to donate. Then I attempted to promote it. I started it off with a celebratory birthday run where I ran my age in miles (41). I shared this on my social media platforms and asked that anyone who intended to get me a birthday present to please donate to the fundraiser instead. I received a few donations from friends and family.

I didn’t get as many donations as I had hoped. I thought if I went bigger, I would surely get more donations. I tied the fundraiser to my first race of the year, a 24 hour trail race. I set up a pledge system for anyone to donate any amount per mile they like prior to the race. Unfortunately I didn’t have any takers. I thought, “maybe 24 hours isn't enough.” I updated the pledge system for my next race, The Keystone Backyard Ultra, which I was sure would go longer than 24 hours. I was right in my assumption about it going longer (I ran for almost 31 hours), however I was wrong about thinking that going bigger would garner more donations. It was the longest and farthest I had ever run. I was really happy about my performance, but it would have been much sweeter if I had been able to secure any pledges.

After three running “events” that I had attempted to use to help raise funds for St. Jude I had garnered a total of 7 donations totaling $185. I was still $65 away from my fundraising goal of $250 (the base amount for St. Jude Heroes). I concluded that I’m far better at running ultras than fundraising. I got first place at the two races I ran as a part of this fundraising effort, but was still only about 75% of the way to my fundraising goal. Thankfully, I received a cash prize of $12.50 per lap (4.1667 miles) run for a total prize of $387.50! I donated a portion of that prize money to reach my base fundraising goal.

I was happy to have reached my goal, but the fundraising effort still felt like a failure to me as the only reason I reached my target amount was due to me donating. I decided fundraising isn’t my forte. I didn’t give it too much thought after that and tried to move on just focusing on running. Then, as a Bibrave Pro ambassador, I registered to run and promote the Inspiration 4 mile virtual run, a part of which was a fundraising component. It kinda felt like fate had brought this fundraising effort back into my life, and coincidence or not, of all the fundraisers that the Inspiration 4 mission could have chosen to support, they chose St. Jude as I did six months earlier.


The Inspiration 4 fundraising goal was inspiring, as it should have been given the name. They aimed to raise 200 million dollars for St. Jude and were successful in doing so. The success was in large part due to generous donations from two people heavily involved in the mission, Elon Musk ($50 million) and crew member, Jared Isaacman ($100 million). The flight was operated by SpaceX, founded by Musk, and procured by Isaacman.

After following the Inspiration 4 mission and promoting the virtual run, it made my earlier fundraising efforts seem pretty trivial. I know every bit counts, but $200 million counts a whole lot more than the $250 I raised. Then I realized, I was asking friends and family to donate. These are all people with budgets pretty similar to me when compared to billionaires. They might have donated 10, 20, or 50 dollars, which I greatly appreciate, but I doubt anyone I have in my circle of friends and family is going to donate thousands of dollars (let alone millions) no matter how far I run. That’s when I realized, I should have been asking billionaires to donate.

The Inspiration 4 crew traveled to an altitude of 364 miles, making the round trip (just accounting for distance from earth and back) 728 miles. Strictly considering the distance away from and back to earth, Musk and Isaacman’s per mile donations were $68,681.32 and $137,362.64 respectively. I ran 150 miles at my last race, fueled primarily by carbs and not rocket fuel. If either Musk or Isaacman had pledged the same rate for my run I would have raised $10,302,197.80 from Musk or $20,604,395.60 from Isaacman.


So this is my ask of a billionaire out there. Let’s continue to inspire even after the mission of the Inspiration 4 has been completed. It was an inspiring project to see four civilians travel into orbit. Especially when one of those civilians, Hayley Arceneaux, is a cancer survivor, was a St. Jude patient, and is now a physician assistant at St. Jude. I will be running another race in May 2022, Capital Backyard Ultra, that I plan to go even farther than my last. I would like to attempt to tie another fundraising effort in with this race as I did past ones, but fear the results will be the same as before. Is a 41 year old father of three boys who recovered from a hip surgery and now runs 100+ mile ultras as inspiring as the Inspiration 4 mission? Probably not in most people’s opinions. But maybe it adds a fifth pillar to the four pillars of humanity (leadership, hope, generosity, and prosperity) represented by the four crew members of Inspiration 4. I would suggest that my story and likely even more so many others’ could represent the pillar of persistence, the undying tenacity of the human spirit to continue forth despite undue suffering and grim odds. The quality of persistence is a common recurring trait throughout many of the most influential turning points in human history; doesn’t it deserve a place as one of the pillars of humanity?


If you would like to support my fundraising efforts, donations can be made at my St. Jude Heroes fundraising page. Want to pledge a per mile donation based on how far I run at the Capital Backyard Ultra? Fill out this Google form and donate when the results are posted.


Thank you for any and all support!


Scott Snell
October 16, 2021

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Why I Registered For The Inspiration4 Miler Virtual Run



"Disclaimer: I received a free registration to the Inspiration4 Miler Virtual Run 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!"

“Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its continuing mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no one has gone before!”

If you recognize the above quote, then I’m sure one of the reasons why I registered for the Inspiration4 Miler Virtual Run is obvious. The quote is the introduction that began every episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Spoken by Captain Jean’Luc Picard of the Starship Enterprise, these words and his voice are pretty well etched into my memory. While I am by no means a card carrying trekkie, I did watch my share of Star Trek among other space themed sci-fi shows and movies. So, when I heard about the Inspiration4 Miler Virtual Run I was immediately intrigued. I had heard about a plan for an all civilian mission to orbit, but this was the first I had heard of the name “Inspiration4” and the associated virtual run. I think that some degree of fascination and awe of space travel and wonder of what is “out there” in that seemingly limitless expanse are pretty common human feelings. I view this mission as setting a benchmark of sorts of how far we have come in our advancements in space travel in the last few decades. And the fact that running is now tied in with it, even better! Sign me up!


A second reason I signed up so readily for this virtual run was the incorporated fundraising aspect of Inspiration4. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
® is the charitable beneficiary of the mission. As such, the fundraising goal of the mission is to raise $200 million to support the lifesaving work of St. Jude. As a St. Jude Hero, I fundraised for St. Jude earlier this year raising $250 by incorporating fundraising with long distance runs. As one of my preferred nonprofit organizations, St. Jude being named as the charitable beneficiary of this mission motivated me even more to be involved in this history making event in some way.


Lastly, a final reason I was motivated to sign up for this event was the cool swag and how much my kids seemed to love it. When I showed the hat, long sleeve shirt, and the medal with the Inspiration4 logo to my kids, they were super pumped about it, so much so that I ordered the shirt size for my son and told my other son that he could have the finisher medal as long as they both ran it with me. To my delight, they both agreed! Anytime I can share a running experience with my boys is a blessing! Photos of them and their new swag to come! If you'd like to get on board, register here!


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Floundering: Battling the Post Race Blues



The post race blues are not unique to me. Heck, I’m sure it’s not even unique to runners. From the other runners I’ve talked to about them, it seems to be pretty common among most runners. We work hard and sacrifice dedicating a great deal of time all to achieve a singular goal on race day. Then race day comes and goes; we either succeed or we don’t. Regardless of the outcome, following a race I’m always grateful for having the ability and the opportunity to experience the process of training for something that challenges me. I’m also thankful that I have the mindset and the support to even make an attempt at goals that actually frighten me. But when the excitement of race day has passed and the body has recovered, that’s when the post race blues can start to creep up on you. Sometimes it’s sudden, other times they sneak up on you so gradually you don’t even notice it until they’ve taken root.

It’s been about a month since my last race and with no races on my calendar, I’m just starting to feel a bit down. I think I was able to ride the high from my last race (Keystone Backyard Ultra) for several weeks following it because it went so well. Usually I plan my year out ahead of time so when I recover from one race I am excited to start training to prepare for what’s next. This year I left my schedule a bit open, being uncertain of what races would actually happen and entertaining the idea of going after a longer FKT attempt rather than racing. Now with the two races I was registered for this year over, as I started trying to plan out the rest of my year I found myself feeling extremely indecisive and having trouble committing to any race.

It didn’t occur to me until just recently as I was deciding on how and where to run my long run this weekend. I’m planning on recording a 206 minute run to complete the Chase the Sun BUFF Challenge on Strava. Originally I planned to make some progress on my project to run every single street of Egg Harbor Township. Then I wasn’t feeling real excited about that. Usually for those runs I’m stopping frequently to check my map and make sure I’m not missing any small streets and to remind myself of my route. It’s not really the ideal way to run if you just want to focus on letting your mind wander as you click off miles. So then I thought I’d just run laps at the EHT Nature Reserve since it’s been a long time since doing a long run there. Eventually I found myself floundering between the two options, unable to decide.

That’s when I realized I wasn’t feeling excited about either. It was the same feeling I was having when considering potential races to register for. I would look up races and think that they sound cool and would be fun, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I’m attributing these feelings to the onset of the post race blues. It comforts me recognizing it now that I’ve had multiple bouts and knowing that it is temporary. Eventually, the spark is always reignited and until then I’m just grateful for being able to run and stay fit. Even if there isn’t a specific goal with a set date on the calendar, the physical and mental benefits of running always draw me back and make it well worth my time.

Sometimes, until the excitement returns and I need a little extra motivation to get out the door for a run, I’ll use some type of short term challenge or goal to attempt to create a spark. I mentioned earlier the Chase the Sun BUFF Challenge on Strava. Encouraging motivation is the exact reason I decided to take on this challenge. The purpose of the challenge is to celebrate the summer solstice (June 20) by logging 206 minutes of activity. I chose running and decided to run it in a single session. Why 206 minutes? This year, the summer solstice is on 20th June so the time challenge is inspired by the date: the 20th day of the 6th month.


Join me in this challenge by logging 206 minutes of activity (doesn't have to be running) by June 21st to celebrate the official start of summer and qualify for a 30% discount on selected BUFF® products. Or just join for the fun and extra motivation the challenge will provided.



Scott Snell

June 17, 2021





Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus


"Disclaimer: I received registration for the Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus 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!"


Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus

I recently completed the Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus running experience. You may have picked up on how I referred to this as a “running experience” and not a “virtual race”. This was an intentional and purposeful selection of words to most accurately describe what Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus actually is.

First of all, it is not a virtual race.


You will not be shipped a finisher’s award or a t-shirt. The creators intentionally wanted to distinguish this running experience from virtual races by not emulating what is standard practice for virtual race registrations. Additionally, they wanted to reduce waste produced from packaging and shipping materials and make this experience as environmentally friendly as possible.


So if it’s not a race, what is it?

Imagine an experience that integrates puzzle solving challenges similar to those found in escape rooms with several runs of multiple distances. This is the “running experience” that Run To Escape: Mission Mount Olympus offers. Clues to the puzzles are provided via audio clips that are delivered to you from the gods using the Runkeeper app. I suggest Aftershokz to get your audio on the go during your run. The puzzle itself is then accessed online where all of the audio clip clues are also made available for review. I will tell you now that having the audio clues available for review was critical for me as I found myself needing to listen to some of them multiple times before being able to solve some of the puzzles.

Additionally, there is an entire storyline and character development throughout the experience. The background of the story is that Atalanta, Goddess of Running, is vying for her spot as the 13th major deity of the Greek Pantheon. You will help her overcome the six challenges presented by other gods for her to earn her spot.


What are the puzzles like?

The puzzles are a mix of word riddles, games of logic, and problem solving. A few had me scratching my head at first, but eventually I was able to solve all of them. The solution to each puzzle provides a code that is then input into the website to unlock the next run and puzzle challenge.

Why not give it a try?

The creators of this newly conceived run experience are offering a generous, no risk full refund policy. If you try it and decide this type of escape room puzzle solving meshed with running is not for you, just let them know and receive a full refund.

Additionally, the discount code “BIBRAVE10” is good for 10% off registration fees until the end of 2021!












Friday, April 30, 2021

Combating Exercise Induced Immune System Suppression With Science In Sport Immune Tablets - Bibrave Product Review



"Disclaimer: I received Science In Sport Immune Tablets 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!"


I remember the first time I experienced it almost immediately after one of my long training runs preparing for my first marathon in 2009. It was probably a 17 or 18 mile run in some cooler temperatures in late February or early March. Soon after arriving back home, I started sniffling, sneezing, and just suddenly feeling like I was hit with a very sudden and quick onset of a bad cold. In all my years of running I had never experienced this before. However, I was also running a greater volume and the longer distances than I had ever run before. Little did I know how much impact endurance training and workouts can have on the performance of your immune system. In fact, Nieman (2007) reports that exercise induced changes can adversely impact the immune system in multiple ways and may last between 3 and 72 hours. Thankfully for me, my initial experience with exercise induced immune system suppression was nearer the shorter time period of that range and all of my symptoms seemed to disappear as quickly as they presented themselves, just a few hours after I got out of a warm bath.

So what do us runners who enjoy running for prolonged periods do to combat having constantly suppressed immune systems due to our running habits? Nieman (1998) reported that the data from two studies examining carbohydrate ingestion of marathon runners and triathletes suggest that overall physiologic stress is diminished in the groups of athletes that were given a carbohydrate ingestion treatment compared to athletes receiving a placebo treatment based on hormonal and immune responses. The carbohydrate treatment in these studies was consumed in the form of a carbohydrate beverage (think Gatorade or Tailwind) while running or cycling. The data (Figure 2) supports the hypothesis model diagramed in Figure 1 showing that carbohydrate ingestion during prolonged workouts results in high plasma glucose levels and reduced cortisol levels which ultimately helps to counter negative impacts to immune system function (Nieman, 1998).








That’s great to know, but most of us runners are already hydrating during our long runs with some type of carbohydrate beverage. Is there anything post workout that can help lessen the negative impacts of prolonged exercise on the immune system? Step up Science In Sport (SIS) immune tablets, it is your time to shine! These effervescent tablets quickly dissolve in water and are designed to maintain healthy immune system function after intense or prolonged physical efforts. Each SIS immune tablet provides vitamin C (200 mg) and iron (2.5 mg) in addition to key electrolytes that help aid rehydration following exercise. Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant that contributes to immune defense in a multitude of ways by supporting cellular functions (Carr and Maggini, 2017). Zinc is an essential trace element that affects the integrity of the immune system in many ways including acting as a cofactor in over 300 enzymes that influence organ functions and have indirect impacts on the immune system (Dardenne, 2002; Rink, 2007).


So the science behind Science in Sport immune tablets checks out, but how did they work for me. I began using SIS immune tablets daily about 3 weeks before my first 24 hour race. I always tend to get nervous about getting sick leading up to a race, so this was the ideal time for me to take any and every precaution to avoid any kind of cold or respiratory issues. The first item to note is the taste. Like all the other SIS products I have tried, the flavor of their immune tablets impressed me compared to workout supplements produced by other brands. I usually find the flavor of most supplements to be overpowering or too sweet. That was not the case with SIS immune tablets. I began looking forward to a tall, cool glass of their light orange flavor during my runs.


But did they work? Did they do what they claim to do?

Well, I didn’t get sick at all leading up to the 24 hour race I was preparing for while using SIS immune tablets daily. Additionally, I didn’t get sick at all following the 24 hour race where I put my body (immune system included) through some pretty serious stress considering the length and intensity of the effort and the sleep deprivation. While I can’t say that my good health was solely the result of using SIS immune tablets, they very well likely played a role and at the very least they gave me the mental comfort of knowing that I was taking additional precautions to protect myself and set myself up as best I could to achieve my goals on race day. So at the end of the day, SIS immune tablets will likely become a standard pre race and post race practice for me.

Literature Cited


Carr, A.C. and S. Maggini. 2017. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients 9(11): 1211.

Dardennene, M. 2002. Zinc and Immune Function. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (56): 20-23. 

Nieman, D.C. 1998. Influence of Carbohydrate on the Immune Response to Intensive, Prolonged Exercise. Exercise Immunology Review (4): 64-76.

Nieman, D.C. 2007. Marathon Training and Immune Function. Sports Medicine (37): 412-415. 

Rink, L. 2007. Zinc and the Immune System. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society 541-552.












Friday, April 23, 2021

Adventure Trail Run - 24 Hour Event 2021


My first place overall finisher award!

It’s been about 3 days since the finish of the Adventure Trail Run - 24 Hour Event as I begin this report. Other than some sore toes from a few blisters that developed under my nails and minor muscle aches in my quads and calves, I’m feeling mostly recovered. For a 24 hour effort, the physical recovery seemed pretty quick and not too painful. It’s more the mental recovery that’s a little harder to move past with this race. It’s not that I’m not proud of the effort I put forth or what I did achieve. The truly stinging part of replaying all the scenes in my mind of how those 24 hours were spent is how close I came to nailing my top goal while just falling a little short. I had a very specific goal for this race: to break the course record of 108 miles. My final official mileage was 103.1 when I stopped with about a half hour left on the clock. When it’s that close for a nearly 24 hour effort, the “what if”s and “if only”s seem to breed and multiply in your brain.

The night sky the whining before the race.

The Adventure Trail Run is a timed trail running event held at Prince William Forest Park (National Park Service) in Triangle, VA. This year was the 15th anniversary of the event and they offered 8 hour solo, 4 person relay 24 hour, and solo 24 hour options. While I chose the solo 24 hour because I had never run that race format before and I wanted to test myself with that style of race, the 4 person 24 hour relay option definitely seemed like a fun way to spend a weekend running with friends.

Just before the start!

The course was basically a lollipop design with a 1 mile out and back to a 4 mile loop. The 1 mile out and back section was definitely the most challenging in my opinion. It was probably the most consistently technical section of the course with seemingly endless stretches of jagged rocks and ankle breaking exposed roots. It also had many short but steep climbs and descents to deal with. During the first mile of the race, I immediately thought I’d have to reevaluate my goals as I wasn’t expecting that technical of a course. Thankfully, the 4 mile loop was far more runnable. In addition to the technicality of that entirely narrow single track section was the fact that it was also the section of the course where you had to deal with two way traffic of runners. Since this was a relatively small event (around 100 runners) it didn’t present a major problem, but with 50k and 100k runners on the course at the same time as the 24 hour runners, it did feel a bit congested to me on a few occasions.

My gear for the race.

The 4 mile loop section of the course was a totally different story. Even the more technical sections, climbs, and descents were more runnable than the initial 1 mile out and back. This year the loop was run in a counterclockwise direction. Apparently the race reverses direction of the loop every year. From the start of the loop to the halfway point fluid only aid station was nearly all smooth, buttery, flat single track trails with the exception of a short climb with a couple switchbacks and few technical rocky sections where you had to be careful of your footing. Immediately after the aid station was a short stretch of boardwalk to run on and then the longest sustained climb of the course. The climb followed a stretch of what appeared to be a fire road for about a half mile and up about 150 feet. The rest of the loop was all single track trail with a few technical rooty sections and a few short climbs, but nothing too intense.

My cabin for the night before the race.

I alluded to it earlier about how the race went in my first paragraph, and I’ll expand on that now. I set what may have been a lofty goal for myself: to break the course record of 108 miles. Obviously, I came up a little short with my final official mileage of 103.1. It’s an especially disheartening form of failure when you’re on pace for your goal for so long and come so close to your goal, but it just very slowly becomes more and more apparent over the course of 24 hours of hard effort and battling exhaustion that it is increasingly unlikely of being attained. For the first 50k I was maintaining a pace faster than necessary and building in a bit of a cushion as I was pretty sure I would slow down for the last 12 hours and the early hours of the morning. As the day wore on and fatigue and exhaustion began to build, I checked my overall pace on my watch ever more frequently hoping to stay under that 12:48 pace that I had calculated I needed to hit my goal. I wasn’t exactly sure if or when my pace would roll over that threshold, so I continued to push on in hopes that I could fend off the ever slowing pace that my watch was reporting.

The inside of the cabin.

Initially it was mostly the aid station stops between loops that seemed to be the primary cause of my slowing pace. I’d check my watch going into and leaving and consistently find my pace slowed by about 10 seconds per mile with each pass through. I tried to get through more efficiently, but filling bottles, emptying gel packages, grabbing more gel packages, and eventually eating some real food all takes time. I was great through the 50k mark when all my calories came from gels and hydration, but when I started feeling the need to add some real food for calories my aid station stops tended to take a bit longer. The data shows that my slowest mile (with an aid station stop) up to the 50k mark was 15:55 and my overall average pace was 11:25 per mile.

A temporary tattoo I tried it for the race.

I still felt good and had hopes of hitting my goal even at the 50 mile mark. I was still at an overall pace of 12:31 per mile. I knew it was going to be close and a struggle at that point, but I thought it might still happen. But then around the 100k mark my pace began to suffer a bit more and my aid stops became more damaging to my overall pace. It was right around that point that my overall average pace rolled beyond my goal threshold and jumped to 12:50 per mile. Although this was a disheartening point for me, it didn’t crush me or make me want to quit. Even if I wasn’t going to hit my goal, I still wanted to get as close as possible. I held on to hope that things could still turn around. I was only about 13 hours into a 24 hour race at that point.

Most of my gel packaging.

Unfortunately, things never really turned around. I never got that major energy burst that I hoped for to put me back within reach of my goal. Things never got really bad either. I continued to move steadily and well, just not well enough. With about 8 hours left in the race the race director let me know that second place was only about 40 minutes behind me. That gave me a bit of a boost of motivation to pick up my pace for a couple laps, but it still wasn’t enough for me to get back to my target pace. As the 24 hour clock began to wind down, I finished my last full lap to hit the 100 mile mark with about an hour and 20 minutes left. I knew I wouldn’t complete another full loop, but I could get credit for a half loop if I made it to the midway aid station before the clock ran out. There was no reason not to keep going, so off I went for three more miles. I reached the midway aid station with about a half hour left in the race and called it there.

Preparing for the drive home.

With that half hour left to burn at the end of my race, I immediately began thinking about how many more minutes I would have needed to run the last 3 miles to finish that final lap which would have tied the course record. I thought another 15 would have gotten me damn close; 20 would have pretty much guaranteed it. After looking at my data, those thoughts turned out to be pretty accurate. My average pace for the last 20 miles without aid station stops was just over 15 minutes per mile. An extra 15 minutes may have gotten me back home to tie the course record. But where would that time have come from? I know I could have saved some time during my aid station stops. My 7 slowest miles included an aid station stop and clocked in at an average of 21:05 per mile; there is definitely room for improvement there.

At the finish!

And then that’s where the brain games start getting out of hand. If only I had changed shirts faster. If I had packed a 2 liter of Coke in my cooler instead of wasting time to have a cup filled at the aid station I would have saved a few minutes there. If I had eaten those 2 perogies while walking instead of while standing at the aid station I may have shaved off another 2 minutes. It’s all enough to drive you crazy at some point. It’s also enough to make you question why I can’t just be happy with a first place finish at my first 24 hour race. It’s not that I’m not happy about my performance or the win I managed to get. I’m proud of both of those accomplishments. But I don’t think it would be a healthy reaction to set a goal, not reach it, and then not at least be somewhat disappointed about it. It’s kind of the point of a goal. You set it, you aim for it, you work for it, you struggle to reach it. And after all of that, if you come so close but fall slightly short, you should be disappointed in my opinion regardless of other circumstances such as overall race placement which was irrelevant to my goal anyway. Maybe that’s wrong. Maybe I’m ungrateful. Maybe I set my expectations too high. Whatever it is, this one is taking some time to process completely. Regardless of failing to reach my goal, I am happy with my performance and what it indicates about my fitness level and ability to endure and continue to move forward despite a mentally challenging circumstance. It gave me an indication of what I may be capable of at my next race, Pennsylvania’s first backyard ultra, the Keystone Backyard!

Recovery time.





Scott Snell

April 22, 2021












Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K Race Report



"Disclaimer: I received a free registration to the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K 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!"


It’s Virtual! I Got to Run Where and When I Wanted!

I’ll be the first to say it, I miss in real life racing. I miss getting to the starting line with other runners. I miss visiting new places and discovering new areas to run as a result of going to races. I miss the excitement of crowds along a race route and the energy boost they provide. I miss the feeling of an actual finish line and meeting and chatting with other runners there over bananas and bagels. I miss all those things that were a part of in real life races that I took for granted. But COVID, but COVID, but COVID… those two terrible words. At least we still have the option to run events virtually to give us a taste of what we’re missing. And as much as virtual events lack compared to IRL events, they do present their own unique benefits.

Virtual events of course negate the need for travel plans and save all the associated costs making them simpler and more affordable. They are also much easier to work into a busy schedule making them more accessible. Don’t like running in the morning? With a virtual race you don’t have to. You’re busy the day of the event? No problem! Run it the day before or the day after. Or run it a week before as I did with the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K because I’ll be busy running a 24 hour race on the day of the event. Lastly, virtual events allow you to choose where you run and what kind of terrain you run on. I was indecisive as to whether I wanted to run on roads or trails for the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K so I ended up running both on consecutive days because why not?


It Had Been Awhile Since I Had Tried to Run Fast.

One of my goals was to actually try to race this 15K and run it as fast as possible. Well, I did not follow through with this goal. With a racing goal that has been on my “to do” list falling on the same day as the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K I decided to make some adjustments. I have wanted to test myself by running a 24 hour race for the last 3 years or so. I finally registered for a 24 hour race in April last year which was cancelled (COVID) and rescheduled to April 17th 2021, the same date as the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K. Thankfully with the Hot Chocolate 15K being virtual I could run it a week in advance. Even so, I did not want to push too hard for it as I wanted to be completely recovered and in top shape for my 24 hour race. Maybe it sounds like an excuse, but I have what may be some lofty goals for the 24 hour race and I don’t want to set myself up for failure or with excuses when things get tough there, which I expect them to at some point.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the Official Charity Partner.

A major reason why I ran the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K was because the race is an official charity partner of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The mission of St. Jude Children’s Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. I love what they stand for as a nonprofit organization and the fact that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. This was such a motivating factor for me to run this race that after registering I decided to start an additional fundraising campaign through the St. Jude Heroes program to raise funds as I train for and run ultramarathons this year.


The Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K Delivered on the Chocolate and Swag!

Another reason I decided to run the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K was a simple one: the chocolate. My kids are pretty big fans of all things chocolate. I figured I’ll run the race and whatever swag and chocolate goodies I get can be shared with them. We’ll both get some of our favorites; it will be a win win!


And what a win it was! My kids loved the chocolates and the hot chocolate mix! They also got a pretty big kick out of the unique finishers medal that flips open to reveal a storage area for more chocolate. And for me, the zip up hoodie is super comfortable, warm, and fits great!

While I’ll never be able to say that I believe virtual races can adequately replace in real life races, I don’t think they necessarily have to. I believe the two can coexist. For the time being and until we can safely get back to larger in real life races, virtual races will help me to tide my racing appetite and continue to enjoy my obsession with running.


Scott Snell
April 14, 2021



Saturday, February 20, 2021

WhitePaws RunMitts Gear Review



Because Runners Don’t Take Winters Off

Disclaimer: I received a pair of Whitepaws Runmitts 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!

The reason why I was so excited to try out WhitePaws RunMitts this winter is in the company’s marketing slogan: “Because Runners Don’t Take Winters Off.” As a runner who prefers running in hotter than comfortable temps rather than colder than comfortable temps, I figured I needed some WhitePaws RunMitts in my life to stay active and motivated to run through the winter months. Since I’ve tried them on and worn them for a few test runs, here’s some of the features about them that have been real standouts for me.


They Do What They’re Supposed to Do Well - Keep Your Hands Warm!

I know this one should go without saying, but I’ve used enough other subpar mittens and gloves that just don’t cut it with the one job they’re supposed to do, keeping my hands and fingers warm. The temperature during the coldest training run I wore my WhitePaws RunMitts for was in the mid-twenties. It wasn’t dangerously cold like the MidWest winters I remember while growing up, but with the gusty winds it was uncomfortably cold. Thankfully, my WhitePaws RunMitts kept my hands and fingers protected and warm!


Built in Pocket for Hand Warmers. Very Nice!

I haven’t had the need to use the built in pockets for hand warming pouches for extra warmth in extremely cold conditions as of yet, but I appreciate the option being available. Having used ski gloves with hand warming pouches during some longer, colder days on the slopes, I know what a game changer those hand warmers can be. Having this option makes longer winter trail runs or all day hikes way more attractive to me.


Access to Fingers for When You Need Dexterity.

The fact that WhitePaws RunMitts allow you quick and easy access to your fingers via their patented (US9220307B2) clingable cap gives you the dexterity you need without a hassle. The top of the glove flips open freeing your fingers when you need them and then easily closes again. Here’s a short (and by no means complete) list of a few instances when this feature has been super handy for me:
  • Working zippers - Sometimes you just need your fingers to make a zipper work. I’ve found myself plenty of times on a ski lift taking off and putting on my gloves just to be able to access my zippered pocket contents.
  • Opening energy gel packs - Maybe some people can pull it off, but I just can’t seem to get the traction or dexterity I need to open a gel packet while wearing gloves. On top of it, I don’t want sticky gel goop getting all over my gloves. WhitePaws RunMitts solves this conundrum!
  • Tying your shoes - Just try to tie your shoelaces with your favorite pair of gloves on. I’ve tried it on bitter cold days when I was being stubborn about removing my gloves; every time it ended with me giving up and taking my gloves off.
  • Using your phone - Whether you’re checking a map, answering/making a call, or snapping a running selfie with friends, sometimes you need your fingers to get that touch screen to work!
  • Nature calls - I won’t go into the details here. You can probably figure it out.
  • Adjusting your Aftershokz - If you use Aftershokz you know, some of those buttons to skip tracks or adjust the volume are small! You almost need that skin contact just to feel the button you’re looking for. WhitePaws RunMitts to the rescue!
If you’d like to give a pair WhitePaws RunMitts a try, use discount code “BIBRAVE5” for $5 off all 2020 WhitePaws RunMitts mittens, expires 3/31/21.


And if you like love stories, check out this stop motion animation love story between Whitepaws Runmitts and Hotties Hand Warmers: https://youtu.be/ru-2gAt8-Po



Here are a few links to other BibRavePro's reviews:









Saturday, February 6, 2021

Why I’m Running the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K

 

"Disclaimer: I received a free registration to the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K 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!"



It’s Virtual and Won’t Be Cancelled!

If 2020 taught me anything, it’s that life is unpredictable. I never expected movie theaters, restaurants, and parks to be shut down due to a global pandemic, but it happened. As such, most of my running goals had to be postponed as they were based on events that were cancelled. I don’t know what this year entails. I am hopeful that in person racing will return, but I’m hedging my bets by diversifying with some virtual options like the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K. It’s a race that I know will not get cancelled and gives me a dependable goal with a set deadline to work towards.

  

It’s Been Awhile Since I Tried to Run Fast.

I haven’t run an actual race shorter than an ultra distance in almost two years and I was feeling the need for some extra motivation to do some speedwork. What better way to motivate myself to do some faster runs and speedwork than to sign up for a 15K? With it having been so long since I pushed my pace for any amount of time, I’m excited to see what kind of time I’m able to pull off. It also makes it particularly challenging to set a time goal. My base goal, which I think I should be able to achieve is to run sub 8 minute miles. My upper tiered goal is to finish in under 1:10.


St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is the Official Charity Partner.

The mission of St. Jude Children’s Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. I love what they stand for as a nonprofit organization and the fact that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing, or food. 

Additionally, St. Jude Children's Hospital has consistently received high ratings from from Charity Navigator. Their most recent is a four star rating, the highest rating possible, with 100/100 for accountability and transparency and 87.87/100 in financial. 


My Kids Like Chocolate!

The final reason I registered for the Allstate Detroit Hot Chocolate 15K is a simple one: because my kids are pretty big fans of hot chocolate. Each Virtual Run registration includes a Chocolate Finisher’s Kit! They serve delicious dark chocolate that is gluten free and has no compounds. It's not a problem for me, but if you have a nut allergy; no worries! Their chocolate is nut free. I figured I’ll run it and share the hot chocolate swag with them. We’ll both get some of our favorites; it will be a win win!

 
If you’re planning to sign up, use code “BRHC20” to receive a free Hot Chocolate running hat with your swag package!

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery Review


science in sport rego beast coast trail running scott snell

Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery 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!


Since diving into the ultrarunning world about five years ago, I may have changed a bit. I definitely look at distances differently. I can’t drive anywhere and see mileage signs without thinking to myself “I could run that far.” Anytime I travel, a part of my preparation is to look at maps of the area I’ll be visiting and try to find cool running routes. I would say I wasn’t brand loyal before, maybe even opposed to it in a general sense, but in ultrarunning when you figure out what works for your mind and body you tend to stick with it. It happened quickly with shoes for me. As soon as I ran my first trail run with my Altra Superior 1.5s I was hooked and now run in nothing but Altras. I’ve been more of a vagabond when it comes to fuel, hydration, and supplement products, but as this is the third time I’ve tested and reviewed a Science in Sport product and for the third time I am thoroughly impressed, it may be time to admit where my allegiance lies. For me, Science in Sport products are becoming the standard against which I judge other endurance fuel and supplement products.

SIS REGO Rapid Recovery is a post workout supplement that contains a blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes, vitamins, soy protein, and nutrients. SIS REGO is designed to be consumed immediately after workouts to replenish depleted glycogen stores and expedite the process of muscle rebuilding and recovery. This means that you will be ready and better prepared to push yourself for your next workout sooner. 

scott snell beast coast trail runnning recovering after run with science in sport rego
Recover and prepare for the next workout!

Without any races on the calendar, the biggest test I could come up with for SIS REGO was a 45 mile round trip run commute between home and work I ran earlier this month (full report here). I ran the 22.3 miles to work in the morning carrying a single serving packet of SIS REGO along with some SIS gels. After consuming three SIS gels on the way, I immediately mixed and drank my serving of strawberry SIS REGO recovery supplement. After my day at work, I repeated the process to get home. I was pretty impressed with how good I felt for the trip home. I ran the route home slightly faster than my morning run to work and never felt completely depleted or exhausted. I took another serving of SIS REGO recovery when I got home to see if it would help me recover from a high mileage day. I took one day off as a rest day and then went for a test recovery run. I felt so great during my “short recovery run” that it turned into a little over an 8 mile run.

gear for a run commute including science in sport rego beast coast trail running
My run, work, run test of SIS REGO.

On top of working really well for me, I also think the taste and consistency of SIS REGO is top notch. I tried both chocolate and strawberry flavors and enjoyed them both. They’re not chalky, overly sweet, or ridiculously flavored like other protein and recovery shake supplements out there. The powder also dissolves with total ease using the SIS shaker bottle to produce a smooth shake without any lumps.

If you’d like to try SIS REGO Rapid Recovery, use discount code “REGO10BIBRAVE” for 10% off on top of all other promotions! Good through December 4, 2020. 

science in sport rego shaker insert beast coast trail runnning scott snell
The shaker insert that helps to prevent any clumping!

Here are a few more details about the product:
  • Lactose Free - SIS REGO uses a soy protein source making it an ideal recovery option for anyone who is lactose intolerant.
  • Vegan - Again, the soy protein source makes SIS REGO an option for vegan diets as well.
  • Gluten, Nut, and Wheat Free - Yes, the soy protein source again makes SIS REGO an option for individuals with gluten, nut, or wheat allergies.
  • Free of Banned Substances - SIS REGO is triple tested by a third party laboratory to ensure no banned substances are present.
  • Convenient Packaging - The individual serving packets are perfect for recovery on the go while the larger 3.5 pound container is great for mixing at home. 

See what my fellow BibRave Pros thought of SIS REGO:









Friday, November 13, 2020

Run, Work, Run


beast coast trail running scott snell

My Work Run Commute Challenge: Run the 23ish mile route to work, put in my work day, and run the 23ish mile route home.

Disclaimer: I received Science in Sport REGO Rapid Recovery 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!

During the challenge:

I’m at the halfway point as I begin writing this report. I ran 22.36 miles from home to work this morning, just a bit shorter distance than what Google Maps had predicted (23 miles). I just ate lunch (a foot long turkey sub) and wanted to record some of my thoughts at this point. I feel good after refueling since this morning’s run and am eagerly waiting for the end of the workday so I can finish my round-trip commute. So far, the most difficult point for me was just getting started. I had trouble getting myself out of bed to begin with. I asked myself “why am I doing this? I’ve driven this route countless times; why run it?” It’s not a scenic route, it’s not an FKT attempt, and I usually don’t even like driving the route. Even with all this running through my head, I pushed myself out of bed and prepped for the first half of the run commute. 

beast coast trail running scott snell sis rego

Running clothes – check, hydration pack – check, shoes – check, watch – check, headlamp – check…time to go. Why am I going? I went through the list again looking for my why all the while thinking of the parts of the route that were going to be the least enjoyable portions to run: busy intersections and areas with little to no shoulder. Then my why finally appeared. It was the challenge, the challenge of sandwiching a long day of running and a workday. I was confident the 23ish mile run there wouldn’t be too challenging, but how would my legs feel when I start my run home? What will the pace of my run home be, faster or slower than going there? At that point, the greatest challenge of this run was the lack of motivation for me to take that first step out the door. It was hard because for most long runs I’ve done there’s a list of secondary benefits: beautiful landscape, new trails and areas to explore, and the comradery of running with other trail runners. Even previous long training runs that I wasn’t particularly excited about had the added motivation of being a training run in preparation for a big trail race. This run had none of those added stimuli. Sometimes people will say that the first step of an ambitious journey is the hardest. I was definitely experiencing that cliché as I stood in my kitchen ready to go and searching for motivation. Eventually I decided that the challenge in and of itself was enough, and I headed out the door. 

beast coast trail running scott snell sis rego

Several days after completing the challenge:

It’s been a few days since completing the 46ish mile round trip and I’ve had a chance to reflect on my why and just where I can find value in taking on such a task. The spontaneity of the idea for the challenge itself and the bit of unknown adventure it presented was one additional benefit I was able to tease out of this challenge. The idea for this was not my own, but my wife’s. It was the first weekend of November and we were having unseasonably warm weather, nearly 70 for a high and sunny all day, every day. I had taken a three day weekend and was itching to get a longer run in at some point before the following work week started. The Cape to Gate (from Cape May Point to Margate) 50 mile route had been on my radar for a while, and I told my wife I was thinking about giving it a shot which would require a ride either to the starting point or back home from the finishing point. Maybe she just didn’t feel like giving me a ride because she suggested the idea for me to run to and from work on Monday when the weather was forecasted to still be pretty nice. It would leave the weekend wide open for me to spend the time enjoying the weather with the family before the shorter cold and dreary fall/winter days set in. And with that, two days prior to the run, the idea was suggested and it was decided. As certain as I was at that point, I had no idea how much I would second guess my decision and have to force myself out of bed and then out the door come Monday morning.

Another value added benefit of this challenge I realized while running was that it was great mental preparation and a confidence booster for several multi day routes I’ve been considering trying. Since running the entire Batona Trail out and back as an FKT, I’ve been looking at other long routes and considering the many options of how to approach these routes that will most definitely be multi day efforts if/when attempted. Some of the routes that have gained my interest are primarily road routes. Having never run more than about 26 miles on roads in a single day, I’m not sure how my mind and body would acclimate to a stretch of multiple high mileage days all primarily on the shoulder of roads. If I planned a 3-5 day route all following roads, would I hate it and want to quit after the first day? I still can’t say for certain what the answer is, but this challenge helped give me a taste of what a multi day road route might be like. 

beast coast trail running scott snell sis rego

With the running challenge complete, I can say it was far from the most enjoyable run or route that I’ve run. Of course, that is the opinion of someone who prefers trail running over road running. It served its purpose in providing a long run, a unique challenge by splitting it into a double, and an opportunity for me to practice quick recovery between back to back long runs. My recovery plan was pretty straightforward and began before I even finished the first half of the run. That part of the plan was to avoid becoming calorie depleted or dehydrated. I avoided both by simply drinking water and eating Science in Sport (SIS) gels for the first stretch of the day. Once I arrived at work I quickly refueled with SIS REGO Rapid Recovery post workout drink which contains a blend of carbohydrates, electrolytes, vitamins, soy protein, and nutrients. The individual serving packets were clutch for this and perfect for a run commute recovery. I then pretty much followed my normal routine for a work day which is pretty much staying on my feet all day at my stand up desk (Varidesk). Personally, I think that staying mobile and avoiding sitting helped keep my legs in better shape to run the second half of my commute. Apparently what I did for recovery and prep for the second leg of the challenge worked well for me. By the end of the work day I was looking forward to the run home and was able to maintain a slightly faster pace running home than to work. Maybe it had something to do with my headlamp batteries starting to weaken and my light beginning to fade, but I felt good at the pace I was running.

Upon my arrival home I was immediately greeted by my oldest son who loudly proclaimed to me and the rest of my family “Dad’s home! Challenge complete!” And that proclamation really drove the purpose for this run home to me. It was about finding a challenge that grabs your interest, makes you question whether it is a good or bad idea, and ultimately gives you a feeling of accomplishment when completed while teaching you something along the way. So what did I learn? I learned that not all challenges have to be epic adventures planned out far in advance, that you can create a challenge out of your daily commute. I was reminded again that mindset and personal drive make a difference as I wrestled with myself to get out the door in the morning. I was shown again that I don’t need a specific goal solidified with a set date to enjoy a tough training run. More or less, I was reminded that running is about the process, not what happens on race day.

Scott Snell
November 13, 2020