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Showing posts with label recovery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recovery. Show all posts

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Reset: Mind and Body


Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell Most Festive Truck
An extremely festive truck seen during my long run!

I hadn’t been feeling it the past week or so: the motivation to run, the excitement about current or potential running adventures, the anticipation when the moment comes to lace up your shoes and see where they take you, and yes even that feeling of accomplishment and mood boost that usually peaks at the finish of most runs has even been diminished or absent. I’m not sure what caused it. I could blame the shorter daylight hours or the colder temperatures. I could blame my lack of motivation to run on feeling tired after work and getting home after dark when I’m hungry and ready to eat dinner. Maybe it was fear of falling into this routine of honestly not wanting to go out for a run. Daybreak, work, sunset, travel home, relieve the wife of some parenting duties, dark, dinner, get the kids ready for bed, and now I’m too tired and it’s too cold and too dark to want to run. It was only a three day stretch without any running, but it felt like it could continue indefinitely and I felt powerless to change it.

Thankfully I had already planned to use some leave from work to take a long weekend. And even better, the weather warmed a bit for it to provide a nearly perfect running day temperature. I went out only with the intention to cover some new streets for the Every Single Street (ESS) project I am working on. I had an idea for my route planned which I thought would probably be about a 10 miler. I figured that would be good to get me back on the horse and get back into the right headspace again. Of course I had the option to lengthen the route with more streets of Egg Harbor Township I hadn’t run yet if I was feeling good and wanted to go longer. And as I should have learned by now, anytime I don’t specifically plan and map out a route for an ESS route, it is always longer than expected. I was out running. The weather was perfect. Things felt right again. Of course I extended the route and kept going longer than originally planned. I had thought it would be about 10 miles, but I told my wife I might be out for about 13. As the day would have it, I covered about 18.5 before arriving back home. The following day I ran another 8.2 miles at my most local trails.

                      Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell Strava Map Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell Strava Map     

Like all other runners, I have been told that rest days are as important as workouts. Likewise, I have also read about how important cross training and workouts besides running are for a runner’s longevity and to reduce the chances of injury. I don’t practice either of these as regularly as I know I should, especially as I get older. And I think that may be why I went through the bit of a funky period I did. I ran a much higher mileage November than I intended.
 I wasn’t building for anything, the weather was just good and I was finding more free time to run. Before I knew it, November was over and it was one of my highest mileage months of 2020. Maybe the overall lethargic lack of motivation I was feeling was my mind and body needing a reset. Maybe a couple lighter mileage weeks and a three day period without any running was just the reset that my body and mind needed. I certainly hope so. If yesterday and today’s runs are any indication, things are beginning to feel in place again.




Scott Snell                            

December 12, 2020  

Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell Every Single Street Progress







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



Sunday, April 12, 2020

Testing Nabee Compression Socks for Running...Errrr Recovery



"Disclaimer: I received Nabee compression knee high socks (15-20 MMHG) 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!"

Use Discount code “BIBRAVE20” for 20% off all socks (one time use)


I need to preface this product review by saying up front that the trial as a whole did not go as I had hoped. The reason is in no way a result of the quality or performance of the Nabee compression socks I received to test out, but entirely due to the quality and performance of the muscles in my left calf. Midway through the testing period (which was going swimmingly up to that point) I was forced to take an unwelcome hiatus from running due to a (self diagnosed) muscle strain in my left calf. As a result, my “test runs” with Nabee compression socks went from literal test runs to figurative “test runs” using Nabee compression socks as a means of recovery. 

My common recovery view.
Even though it was only about a month ago, it feels like a different world today compared to when I first opened the package that contained my Nabee compression socks. Let’s take a trip back to that world. The most notable feature that jumped out to me the first time I tried them on was how easily they slipped on compared to other compression socks I’ve used. Likewise, they have also been far easier to take off. It may not sound like a huge issue, but I’ve worn other compression socks that felt like I was fighting the tidal forces of a black hole to pull them on. Nabee compression socks slipped on with almost no effort. This is an even bigger factor in ultrarunning events long enough to make it beneficial to have a sock and shoe change. It’s hard to describe how frustrating it is to struggle through a compression sock change after 40-60 miles of running when you’re already completely exhausted. Yet there you are, expending energy and straining to pull those knee high socks over swollen calves in hopes of feeling rejuvenated. Yes, it usually helps, but at a cost. The ease with which Nabee compression socks slip on and are removed gets you the benefits of the sock change without the cost of the struggle.

Still in place after 21 miles of running. 
All of my runs wearing Nabee compression socks up until my injury were great! They were comfortable on my feet and allowed my toes to spread which I particularly look for in a sock. I can’t stand when a sock makes my toes feel like they are being forced to scrunch up together. The seamless toe of the sock made for extra comfort and zero blistering. The top cuff of the sock didn’t cause any irritation during my runs and always stayed in place without any readjustments. The longest test run I wore my Nabee compression socks for was my 21 mile birthday run (no, that’s not the run that I got injured during). They performed great and still not a single blister without any other preventative measures taken. The breathability of the fabric of the socks was especially appreciated during that long run. It was one of the warmer days of early spring, but having the extra coverage on my lower legs didn’t bother them or make them feel overheated at all.

After my 21 mile birthday one (preinjury).
I was loving the feel of my Nabee compression socks on my runs. Then during one fateful run I was sent on an unexpected detour. I wasn’t wearing my Nabee socks during this fateful run. It started off feeling fine. I found a one dollar bill on the ground about a half mile after leaving the house at which point I thought to myself “this is going to be a great run!” I was planning to hit some streets to add to my “Run Every Street” project. My legs felt a little sore to start but they started feeling good after about a mile. Then pretty suddenly I had a pain creep up on the back of my left calf. I figured it would just go away so I kept running. But it didn’t go away. It got worse. I walked a bit thinking it was just a cramp that needed to work itself out then I could run the rest of the way home. Unfortunately every time I tried to start running again the pain only got worse. I ended up hobbling about two miles home hoping that after a night of rest it would feel better.

Graph of my pace during the run that I incurred the injury during.
The next morning as I limped out of bed, I realized I was going to have a longer recovery period than one night. On a positive note, I had my Nabee compression socks to provide the “C” for my RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). As I write this review it’s been about two weeks since my injury. I haven’t gotten back to running yet for fear of reaggravating the injury, but I am able to walk without a limp again and pain free so that’s an improvement. The comfort of the Nabee compression socks has been very much appreciated as they provide compression to help with my recovery. My only regret is that I got the super plain, boring black/grey design rather than one of the many festive designs that Nabee offers to improve my spirits while I’m not running. 




Scott Snell
April 12, 2020

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

2019 Worlds End 100k




Nobody will protect you from your suffering. You can't cry it away or eat it away or starve it away or walk it away or punch it away or even therapy it away. It's just there, and you have to survive it. You have to endure it. You have to live through it and love it and move on and be better for it and run as far as you can in the direction of your best and happiest dreams across the bridge that was built by your own desire to heal.


Going into Worlds End (WE) 100k this year my head was not in a good place for both personal life reasons and running related reasons. Advanced warning before you get too far into reading this report, as I begin to write it I fear it will sound like I’m whining and will get into some nonrunning related issues in my life. If you want a more Worlds End running focused report check out my 2017 and 2018 reports. Otherwise if you’re somewhat intrigued with a poor mental state leading up to a race and a lesson learned from it, by all means continue reading. For multiple reasons to be explained, I was battling a lack of motivation, questioning my abilities, and suffering from an overall rather pessimistic outlook in general.

The day before at registration.
I’ll start with the running issues that contributed to me having a bit of lack of motivation and confidence leading up to WE. I was feeling pumped based on my two most recent races before WE. I ran my best time after three attempts at Hyner 50k and a week later I ran a road marathon PR at the NJ Marathon. With basically just a month between the NJ Marathon and WE I planned to do an easy recovery week, ramp up with a decent training week, get in a quality 20ish mile long run, then ease into a taper. Things went as planned up until that quality 20ish mile long run. I got in my 20 mile long run, but it by no means felt like a quality run. My legs felt heavy from the start, I felt tired and sluggish for the entire run, and I struggled to maintain what I felt like should have been an easy pace for flat, nontechnical trails. So I did the only logical thing I could do, I did a 20 mile road run the following weekend expecting it to be much faster and to feel much better about myself going into WE. That follow up long run did not go as planned either. I felt better and was slightly faster (20.08 miles in 2:49:41 versus 20.0 miles in 2:59:27), but the small pace improvement and still not feeling strong while achieving it did very little to improve my confidence.

      

With back to back weekends of disappointing long runs behind me, the next weekend I followed the most logical course of action: I asked for advice from a retired Olympic trampolinist (aka my brother in law). After talking about training cycles, building, peaking, and my lack of all of those things much less a training plan, he said I should just rest the last week before WE. I took that advice and did not run at all for an entire week before WE. I had never tapered that hard before, so I was extremely nervous not even having a couple easy paced short runs the week leading into WE. It also didn’t help improve my confidence at all, but as my brother in law was suggesting, the training and endurance are already there, my body just needs a break to recuperate before being pushed again.


Now to go over the non running issues that were contributing to my less than ideal mental state for the start of WE. I shouldn’t say issues, as it was more so a singular work related issue. For the most part I’m usually pretty good about not letting work frustrations bother me outside of work, but given this situation I could not let it not bother me. In an attempt to not make this a long, drawn out complaining post, I will try to sum up the main points of the situation quickly. Basically, I was offered a temporary detail promotion because the manager of our office had been reassigned to a one year detail. Not long after accepting I was told the position didn’t exist and so I could not have the promotion but I could still do the additional duties that came along with the promotion. Not such a good deal. Not long after that development the temporary detail position was advertised and two other employees from other offices were selected for the three and four month temporary acting manager details. The motivating factors that went into the decision making are still unknown to me. Being passed over for a temporary promotion that I was told doesn’t exist after I had unofficially been doing the additional duties of that position for four months was enough to make me update my resume and start job searching, but not do anything crazy like quit on the spot. Anyway, that’s enough non running stuff to explain why my head was out of sorts.
The view from my cozy car camping.
To add to my disappointment just before the race, my family had a last minute change of plans for the race weekend. We had planned to make an extended camping trip out of this race weekend with our neighbors who have kids that are friends with ours coming along for the trip. I had been telling my family and theirs about how great Worlds End State Park is and how nice the camp sites are for two years. I had finally convinced them to come along for a camping trip and 100k trail run. Unfortunately, the weather reports for extended thunderstorms and rain for the entire weekend caused our neighbors to fear that it would be a miserable weekend for camping so they bailed on us. I got the news Thursday afternoon when I arrived home from work. Making the blow sting even worse, my family decided to back out as well since their friends wouldn’t be coming along. In a flash my weekend went from running an awesome, scenic 100k with my friends and family there to cheer me on and celebrate with afterwards to just me taking off for the weekend.

Between the poor long training runs, last minute plan changes, and the professional life disappointments I was feeling confused, cynical, and worthless which is not a good way to start an ultra. Regardless of the outcome, I showed up even if my attitude about it was pretty crappy. I tried to convince myself that I was excited for it and that even if things weren’t going well in my professional life I at least still had ultramarathons as an escape, but when I woke up the morning of the race after a night of camping the initial thought I had was “time to get this over with.” Not the best mindset to start a gueling 15ish hour endeavor, but I had faith that once I became immersed in the trail running things would start to feel right. 


Just before the finish!
Makes it all worthwhile!

For the most part, that’s exactly what happened. I tried to turn on autopilot and just run the course basically the same way I did in 2018, going out at a comfortable pace while taking in plenty of calories and not blowing up. Pretty much everything fell into place. The course didn’t completely cooperate, but it didn’t bother me. It had been wet leading up to the race and the course had long stretches of extremely sloppy, swampy areas. It reminded me of the conditions from my first time at WE in 2017. That year it really got to me because every stretch of trail that looked runnable ended up being a sloppy mess and I was not able to get into any kind of rhythm. This year was different. Even though the conditions were similar, I managed to still move in a way that felt efficient and consistent. I felt strong on the climbs, my stomach never felt upset, and I was never completely exhausted. It was almost a perfect repeat of last year based on performance, only slightly faster as I finished in 14:11:21 compared to my 14:18:47 finish last year. 


I mentioned at the beginning that there was a lesson learned for me from this whole experience. It wasn’t about how important thinking positively going into an ultra is because I was pretty negative going into this one and still executed better than last year. The lesson for me was that ultramarathons or running in general can’t always be used as an escape from other issues in my life. Or maybe more accurately, ultras and this silly hobby of mine will not resolve other life challenges. I went into this race with a bad attitude. Then the race was going well and I had a great time. I felt even better when the outcome was an improvement over last year. But afterwards all of the circumstances that had caused my mental anguish had not changed. I had just lowered the amount of attention I allowed them for a few days. This may be kind of a sour note to end a report of a positive race on, but that is how this chapter of this ultra season ended for me.

At the finish celebration!


Scott Snell
August 14, 2019


Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Feel The Recovery With OOFOS



Disclaimer: I received a pair of OOFOS Men's OOriginal Sport Sandals 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 don’t like to improperly use or overuse the word “literally” like many of the YouTubers my children watch, but the first time I slid my feet into my new pair of OOFOS Men's OOriginal Sport Sandals I literally said “OOO!” I had heard the hype from other BibRave Pros and read the testimonials on the OOFOs website, but until actually feeling the OOfoam™ technology under my feet I couldn’t believe that any sandal could be that much superior to my normal rotation of sandal brands. I now very comfortably stand corrected on my OOFOs sandals. 


Perfect for fireworks on the beach too!
I sincerely believe that I cannot do these sandals justice by describing how great they feel on your feet whether it’s a day relaxing by the pool or after running a nearly 100 mile ultramarathon (both of which I did while testing these sandals out). In my humble opinion, the only way to truly appreciate and understand the difference that OOFOS offers is by experiencing it yourself. So by all means, do yourself a favor and go try a pair on using the OOFOS retail store locator.

Until then, here are just a few more reasons that may motivate you to go feel the OOfoam™ difference.


1. It’s Science Bro!
In a third party laboratory study (University of Virginia, 2018) OOFOS patented footbed was found to reduce energy exertion in the ankles by up to 20%. Additionally, OOfoam™ was found to absorb 37% more impact than competitors’ sandal foam material.

I can’t quantify the recovery benefits or the feeling I got when wearing OOFOS after a long run, but I can say that it felt like recovery for my poor, abused feet. I don’t know if it was the better fit with the arch support or the extra shock absorption of the OOfoam™, but one of those or the combination of both were more pampering than my feet have likely ever been treated to. This was especially nice after those long ultramarathons that were followed by a 5-6 hour drive home. If you don’t believe me when I say my feet need the recovery, just watch a few of my YouTube videos




2. Discounts for Joining the OOFamily
Who doesn’t want to save money? If you join the OOFamily you’ll immediately get $5 off your first order. Then earn points for additional savings every time you shop. Earn 200 points for each friend you refer while your friend gets 10% off of their first purchase. It’s a win-win!

3. Just Look At These!
I don’t have the greatest fashion sense,if any at all, but these sandals just look nice!

4. Latex Free and Non-Toxic
All OOFOS products are latex free so latex allergies are not an issue. They are painted with non-toxic paints and made from foam with non-toxic properties so you can feel safe wearing them.

5. Get Support While Supporting a Worthy Cause
A 3% donation for every pair of OOFOS that is sold on OOFOS.com goes directly to the Dana-Farber Breast Cancer Research team to support medical advancements in the battle against breast cancer. It is a cause that has a very personal connection to the OOFOS brand. In 2014 the Brand Leader and Marketing Director of OOFOS was diagnosed with “treatable, non-curable” stage four breast cancer. Here is Duncan’s story in her own words.

See What My Fellow BibRave Pros Had To Say About OOFOS:






Saturday, June 22, 2019

2019 Run Ragged Last Person Standing

At the finish!

“A lot of people decry competition as a negative thing. It’s not. You come to love your competitors because you’ve been through this hell together. You don’t want your competitors to quit, but you need them to quit. These things are going on in your head at the same time. That’s a little bit evil. A total mindfuck, runners say.”


-- Gary Cantrell aka Lazarus Lake


Forty-two. It is the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", at least according to Douglas Adams in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was also the number of runners that arrived to run the inaugural Run Ragged on June 13th in Berlin, CT at the Ragged Mountain Trailhead. Maybe it’s a bit of a coincidence in a sense because I’ve found that longer distance ultras are an excellent means for me to believe I’ve found the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything", at least at the wee hours of the morning after exhaustion sets in and my fragile mind starts getting somewhat loopy.

The event was a slight twist on the last person standing race format made explosively popular recently by Courtney Dauwalter and Johan Steene’s amazing performances (279.168 and 283.335 miles respectively) at the 2018 Big Backyard Ultra hosted by the evil genius Gary Cantrell aka Lazarus Lake. The race format requires runners to complete a 4.166667 mile loop in under an hour. The beauty of the rather seemingly random distance is that in exactly 24 hours you’ll have run exactly 100 miles. Sounds pretty easy so far, but every hour the race restarts and all runners must do it again and again and again until all but one runner remains. The last runner to finish one lap more than any other runner becomes the sole winner; all other runners receive a big fat DNF (Did Not Finish). Is it fair? Maybe not. Could it be soul crushing? Maybe so, but that is how the race format works. In fact, there could be no winner at all if a final group of runners goes out and none of them make it back before the one hour cut off.


The RDs of Run Ragged added a few twists to the format making it a bit unique amongst the abundant crop of so many new races that have popped up recently which are nearly exact replicas of the Big Backyard Ultra format. Where the traditional format uses a daylight trail loop and a night road course, Run Ragged used a single trail loop for its entirety. Most last person standing races use a relatively easy 4.166667-mile-long course. Run Ragged opted for a more challenging 5k loop. It was a shorter distance, but from what I’ve heard of other last person standing events the terrain and elevation gain (≈ 500’ per lap) made it a tougher course. While a good portion of the Run Ragged course was runnable, it was not easy or mindless running. The more runnable sections were broken up by technical stretches, short and steep climbs, and some tricky descents. 

Just before the start.
The Run Ragged course is made up entirely of the New England Trail (NET) and NET side/connector trails. The NET was designated a National Scenic Trail in March of 2009. The course starts at the Ragged Mountain Preserve trailhead following the red/blue Ragged Mountain Preserve trail for about 0.78 miles. Then just before turning onto the yellow/blue Ragged Mountain Preserve trail you are treated to a pretty welcome vista overlooking Lower Heart Pond. This stretch of trail is roughly about 0.85 miles and in my opinion seemed to be the most technical and unrunnable stretch of the course. After that you hop onto section 15 of the NET for about 1.52 miles. The course wraps up by following the orange/blue Ragged Mountain Preserve trail for the last 0.68 miles. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “That equals a total of 3.83 miles! You said it was a 5k loop!” Let me explain. These distances are based on the trail map on the Ultrasignup registration page. The NET trail map itinerary page confirms the distances of the yellow/blue and orange/blue trails, but the course only uses short portions of the other two trails so their distances can not be confirmed there. My gps data was pretty close to what the RD had said, that it is a 5kish loop so rather than going round in circles indefinitely (pun intended) over this topic, I’ll leave the discussion of distances there. 

Map from the Run Ragged registration page.
First things first, let’s get the obvious on the table. A last person standing event is nothing like a normal race. In fact, after running this one as my first I even question calling it a race at all. I first became interested in the format when I listened Billy Yang’s interview of Guillaume Calmettes following his win at the 2017 Big Backyard Ultra. Then after following Courtney and Johan’s epic battle in 2018 I felt I needed some of that in my life. I applied for the 2019 Big Backyard Ultra and so did many other more qualified ultrarunners. I was disappointed to not even make the waitlist, but thankfully many last person standing events starting popping up all over. I figured that if I ever want to be selected to run at the Big Backyard Ultra inTN, the best way to do it is to earn a spot there by building my resume. So I jumped into the most local last person standing event I could find, Run Ragged with every intention of being the last person standing. I know I’m not the most talented runner out there and I don’t follow a strict training plan or specific diet. But I can be extremely rigid and single minded once I have my mind set to something and I hate the idea of giving up or quitting. The way I saw it, these qualities may give me a distinct advantage over far more talented and better trained runners than myself so why not just go all in?

Another finish to an early lap.
The start of the race was strange. The 5k loop was easy to do within the allotted hour at a relaxed pace even with the technical single track and the elevation change. I didn’t push myself to get it done faster than I had to and was getting it done comfortably in about 45-50 minutes during all of the daylight hours. My strategy was to do as little damage to my body as possible early on so I could last as long as possible. This meant not exerting myself if it wasn’t necessary. It meant being careful of foot placement with every step to minimize impact and avoid any unnecessary damage to my feet to curtail foot pain in the later stages. With this strategy in my head, my mind was on the long game. Mentally I was already wondering if this would go into a second overnight run and was telling myself to be ready for it if it did. With the 10 minutes or so that I had between laps I spent my time taking selfies, refueling, and rehydrating. I ate a mix of real food (whatever was available at the aid station: Doritos, pizza, rice soup, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, grilled cheeses, oranges, etc.) and Science In Sport isotonic gels. For hydration, I mainly drank the Skratch that was provided at the aid station, but I also brought some iced coffees and coconut water to treat myself to a little variety of refreshments.

One of the earlier starts when it was done to just three.
I felt this early strategy served me well, but it was hard to reel myself in. A few laps I did run a bit faster, but when I got back and spent more time in my chair I didn’t like waiting around to go back out. So I decided then that I would move slowly and consistently rather than race around just to wait to race again. The race format was messing with me even early. It felt like a super mellow group run for the first 10 hours or so. You’d go out, run comfortably with a few people chatting it up then sit down and refresh for a few minutes before doing it all again. Often, it would be with an entirely new group or you’d have one or two new additions to your group. Rarely did I find myself alone or stressed before the sunset. Yet that overall mellow and carefree facade was just a cover that this relentless monster of a race format uses to lull you in to a serene mindset that will likely be your demise as it continues and ultimately reveals itself as the cruel beast it is. As a cynic, I knew this and never trusted this race format for what it appeared to be near the start. I checked my watch more often during this race than any other race I’ve ever run (other than the 2017 Batona 50 where my watch crapped out on me). I decided early that I would not get sucked into its false sense of security.

The "Three Amigos", me with my bananas.
And that’s basically how day one went, from 9 AM until sundown. The only other stand out moment I feel I should mention happened during one of the midday starts. As everyone was heading out after the whistle blew we were passing by a family that had been out for a trail walk and stuck around to watch the start of a “race”. A young rather perplexed looking girl in the family watched all the runners shuffle by, many with either an Icee pop or slice of pizza in their hands. “This is a race?!” she exclaimed in a baffled tone as we passed. That single phrase and how she said it had me laughing for a good part of the next lap.

Heading out again.
Then it became dusk, headlamps came out, and soon after we were into the night running portion of this competition. My pace and strategy didn’t really change much over night. I was kinda looking forward to the night portion of the race because I hadn’t run through the night since my last 100 miler (Mines of Spain) back in October. There’s something about running through the night on trails with nothing but your headlamp to light your way that I love. I love how it is a release from all of my normal day to day worries. When I’m trail running through the night all that matters is forward motion and getting to where I’m going. My entire universe reaches only as far as the light from my headlamp. The other reason that I was looking forward to the night was because I assumed that’s when more runners would start dropping and I’d be able to edge closer to a win. This turned out to be true and I found myself alone on the trail more and more often as the night went on.

The aid station at the start of the event.
For the first mile on one lap overnight I decided I would keep pace with the dwindling lead pack as they went out from the start. After that mile, I said to myself “No more of that. My strategy seems to be serving me well, why change it now?” Not that I knew if my strategy was better, but I wanted to find out how long I could last without risking blowing myself up. The only other highlight from overnight that I want to point out was the volunteer that was stationed as the overlook cliff guard from about 8 PM to 4 AM. This dude was full of energy and had Coke and Mountain Dew shots lined up for us every time we passed. He had a cowbell to ring leading up to his station and a cymbal to hit as you were exiting. He was an aid station hype man and just what ultrarunners need during those low points at the wee hours of the morning. He even hyped up a midnight drink special he had planned for us. It turned out to be apple cider vinegar with a sprinkle of cayenne pepper, I think? It doesn’t sound good, but it was oddly refreshing at the time.

Preparing to head out again.
After 52.7 miles and 17 hours we were down to four runners by the early hours of the morning. As daylight broke I realized how many runners we had lost overnight and how few runners remained. Then three laps later after the sun had risen we lost one more. It was now down to the final three. The three of us would continue to battle mentally and physically with ourselves and with one another for nearly another 50k before anyone finally gave in. During those nine laps the three of us all went out together. I can’t speak for where the other two were mentally, but I was feeling isolated for a good part of those laps. The other two runners were more local, had a girlfriend/wife with them (at some point), and seemed to at least be running friends with some of the volunteers. I went solo to this race and it was my first race in CT so I was meeting all of these people for the first time. In my mind at the time that seemed like a huge advantage for the other two runners. Especially when a volunteer started reading Facebook posts from their trail running group rooting for the two of them. It was hard not to feel like an outsider in that moment. But a few people that I had just met less than 24 hours earlier stepped up and gave me encouragement. One person in particular who I had only chatted with online a few times previously went out of their way after their final lap to let me know they were betting on me to win this thing. It may have not seemed like much to that person at the time, but at some of my lowest, loneliest moments it helped keep me going.

Brushing my teeth has never felt better.
My absolute lowest point of the race was the 25th lap. After 24 hours of running without sleep and not having a finish line in sight, it all started to catch up with me. The other two guys were both consistently finishing their laps faster than me and had more time to regroup between laps where as my pace had slowed and I was typically coming in with about five minutes to spare. Mentally it was wearing on me and I began to think it was only a matter of time until I didn’t make a cut off. Before the one mile mark of that lap I almost turned around and walked back to the start to quit. But I didn’t. I figured I’m almost a mile out, I might as well finish this lap before I quit. As I passed the new cliff guard volunteer I announced that this would likely be my last lap. She tried to encourage me, but I didn’t pay it much attention. I decided to call my wife to tell her I was ready to take my first DNF. After a short conversation with her I agreed to finish this lap and to keep finishing laps until I got timed out. Talking to her and my two sons lit a bit of a fire in me for the remainder of that lap and I moved well until I got back to the restart. Then it was mostly lows again. At one point I actually sat down on a log that was across the trail and told myself that if I sat there long enough I wouldn’t be able to make it back in time and I would be able to quit without saying I quit. But I got off of that log and ran it in before the cut off. Some of this mental anguish may have been due to nutrition as none of the aid station food was sounding good anymore and I hadn’t eaten much real food since the soup in the early hours of the morning. Thankfully I guess I started to recognize this and fixed it by devouring bananas, leaving every start with a banana in my hand and sometimes with one in my water bottle pocket as well.

And again...
At every break between laps I would try to size up the other two guys. They were both getting more recovery time between laps and neither were showing any signs of quitting as hard as I looked for them. Which is why it was so unexpected when one of them (Joseph Nuara) finally threw in the towel after 29 hours and 89.9 miles. It nearly brought me to tears when he said he was done, but once I started running the next lap it gave me a spark. It was now down to two. As we headed out for or first lap as the final two I told the other runner (Matt Pedersen) that however this thing ends, it’s been real. I wasn’t sure if we were playing mind games with one another or just chatting anymore, but Matt and I were talking about this race continuing into another night and whether we would be able to continue to do the loop in under an hour after dark. I wanted to show him it wouldn’t be a problem for me so I picked up the pace on that lap and came in with over 10 minutes to spare. It began to rain again as we went back out for our next lap and then it rained heavier. I continued my faster pace wanting to convince him that the last faster lap wasn’t just a fluke. Surprisingly, he slowed way down for this lap and I finished before him for the first time. I was convinced he did it just to mess with my head and was going to come in just a minute or two before the cut off to make me think it was nearly over when it wasn’t.

An early photo of the overlook at Lower Heart Pond.
He came in with about eight minutes to spare then sat down in his chair like normal. I was going through my normal routine of drinking water and taking in calories when Matt came over from his chair and said the words "take your victory lap". Without thinking, I immediately got up and gave him a hug. I could try to express the emotions I felt right then in my own words, but I believe Cantrell said it best already: “A lot of people decry competition as a negative thing. It’s not. You come to love your competitors because you’ve been through this hell together. You don’t want your competitors to quit, but you need them to quit. These things are going on in your head at the same time. That’s a little bit evil. A total mindfuck, runners say.” The relief and strangely the disappointment when I finally knew there was an end in sight was a surprisingly emotional experience and overwhelming; I couldn't hold back tears and had to wipe my eyes a few times and recompose myself before heading out for my final lap. A few minutes later when Matt counted me down to go out for my final lap I was all smiles. I recall excitedly telling everyone how I was finally going to run this course. Knowing that the finish line was there gave me a burst of energy that I had no idea was still available to me. That last lap (39 min.) was my fastest of the 32 laps (99.2 miles) that I ran during the entire event.

This was the start of the first lap with only two left, just after Joe counted us down and sent us on our way.
I’ve probably gone on longer than I should have already for this race report, but I like to close all of my race reports with some kind of take home message or a lesson learned. Here are the words I wrote just before 6 AM Monday morning after the race when I arrived home with only four hours of sleep since the finish. After rereading this post, I still feel like this sums the event up pretty well.


“After a four hour drive broken up by a four hour nap in the car at a rest area parking lot on the garden state parkway all following a 32ish hour "running" competition, I brought this baby home. A beautifully crafted momento of an event that will be hard to recap into words. But now, while they are fresh and raw I have the main takeaways from this race: 1 - it was the first race that I have ever had to deal with the pressure of chasing cut offs, which is a completely different feeling than failing to meet your self imposed time goals; 2 - it was the first race during which I seriously contemplated dropping for extended periods and was on the verge of dropping on several occasions; 3 - it was the first race that has ever brought me to tears. I was close to tears when Joe dropped, but the relief when Matt said the words "take your victory lap" and I finally knew there was an end in sight was overwhelming and I couldn't hold them back. So many thanks to the RDs, race organizers, the CT Trailmixers, emergency personnel, and all the volunteers that made this an amazing experience for so many. All of us runners are in your debt. Now it is time for a long overdue shower beer!”

A beautiful award. 

Scott Snell
June 22, 2019