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Showing posts with label runners. Show all posts
Showing posts with label runners. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Runderwear Winter Gear Review - Base Layer and Neck Warmer




Disclaimer: I received a Runderwear Men’s Running Base Layer and Neck Warmer to review as part of being a Runderwear Ambassador.


I’m pretty sure I’ve mentioned it several times in this blog in the past, and I am sure I have made the statement multiple times on social media posts: I prefer hot weather running over cold weather running. I think I’m more of a minority amongst runners with this preference, but given the option of running in swamp ass, hot and humid conditions versus bitterly cold freezing temperatures, I’ll choose the swamp ass every time. With that said, maintaining my motivation and desire to run over the course of colder winter temperatures and shorter daylight hours becomes quite a challenge for me at times. Which makes the winter running gear I use an even more important factor in whether I stick to my training plans.


I received two winter running gear items from Runderwear: the Men’s Running Base Layer and a Neck Warmer. I tested both this past holiday weekend while running trails at Hartshorne Woods and Huber Woods in Monmouth County, NJ. Conditions were mild for late November with daily highs ranging from 55-62 F. I planned to be out for some longer days (an 18 miler and a 10 miler) on the trails, so I wanted to wear something that would keep me warm during the cooler part of the day and not make me feel overheated during the warmer part of the day. I went out wearing only the Runderwear Men’s Running Base Layer and a Neck Warmer above a pair of shorts. It turned out to be the perfect compromise for warmth and comfort throughout the varying temperatures of the day.

Men’s Running Base Layer
The Men’s Running Base Layer was designed for cold weather running with its moisture wicking fabric to keep you dry and warm in cold conditions. The fabric provides dynamic heat control with its mesh panels that contain micro perforations that increase breathability which assists with moisture (sweat) removal from your skin helping to keep your core temperature stabilized. The shirt design, like their underwear, is completely seamless and label-free further reducing any risk of chafing. All keeping in line with Runderwear’s chafe-free guarantee.


There’s not a lot of print on it, but the print that is there is hyper reflective. I found this out as I was making the short run back from the county park to the house as it got dark. I was regretting not bringing my headlamp as I ran on the side of a road with an extremely narrow shoulder, thinking what a terrible choice it was to wear a nearly all black long sleeve. I got nervous every time I saw a set of headlights, but noticed the reflection of the Runderwear logo and print on the front of my base layer which provided a bit of comfort.

The last feature of the running base layer that really stood out to me while testing it out was the foldable sleeve ends. The sleeve ends are designed to fold out and over your hands providing built mittens at the end of your shirt sleeves. It wasn’t cold enough that I needed mittens, but I thought the feature was super ingenious, convenient, and well thought out. It’s a well designed feature as the extra material at the end of the sleeves doesn’t feel bulky and is barely even noticeable until unfolded over your hands. I could see this feature being extremely handy for those cooler days when it’s too cold for bare hands, but warm enough that your hands get sweaty when you put gloves on. I’ve had those days where it feels like I’m constantly putting on and taking off my gloves.


Neck Warmer
The Runderwear Neck Warmer is on par with that other really popular neck warmer/face covering company that rhymes with “fluff”. It’s comfortable, breathable, and multifunctional. It can be worn as a bandana, head covering, face covering, or as a neck warmer, obviously. What sets it apart from that other popular band? Not a whole lot other than competitive pricing at only $5 a piece. That and the color perfectly matches other Runderwear attire. So if coordinated running outfits tickle your fancy, this neck warmer just might be your jam.

The neck warmer was especially useful for me as a face covering when passing others on the trail. With New Jersey’s mandatory face covering policy when social distancing can not be maintained (such as on a narrow trail), the face covering was perfect. I could wear it around my neck as a neck warmer and simply slide it up over my mouth and nose when I passed other trail users.

  

All in all, I’m very impressed with the Runderwear winter running gear after my initial weekend test runs. Although they started as a company specializing in running underwear, they have expanded and made other high quality running attire. I was already sold on their blister free socks and chafe-free underwear, but now I’m a fan of their winter running attire as well.

Scott Snell 
December 1, 2020





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



Monday, October 12, 2020

Every Single Street - One Year Later (Almost) - Egg Harbor Township, NJ





On October 29, 2019 I made the decision to embark on a new running goal: to #RunAllTheStreets of my hometown, Egg Harbor Township, NJ. I didn't have a specific target completion date, but at the same time I didn't want this to turn into a project without an end either. Maybe it was partially due to naivety and partially due to the fact that I had not decided what kind of self imposed rules or restrictions I would follow during the course of the project, but I expected to be able to comfortably complete it before the end of 2020. Here I am nearly a year later and only a little over two months until the new year and I am currently 36.22% complete based on City Strides mapping program. I still have a long ways and many miles to go before finishing and I have accepted that it is likely not going to happen before 2021 arrives. 


I could blame part of my lack of progress on an injury I battled earlier this year, but honestly that was not the major reason I did not progress as quickly as I had originally expected. The main reason this project is taking longer than expected is due to the “all on foot” rule I imposed on myself after beginning. Rather than driving to streets and neighborhoods I had not run yet, I decided I would cover all the distance on foot until I had reached at least 25%. Then when I hit 25%, I decided to keep following this rule. This rule of course greatly increased the amount of miles and time required to run all the streets as the bulk of all of my short to medium distance runs at this point are on streets I have already logged. 


After almost a year of this project I have not grown tired of it. I enjoy planning new running routes to log new streets. I like discovering new areas that have been within a few miles of home that I have overlooked and never even noticed. I love finding so many short trail networks at dead end roads that connect paved areas and public parks. It shows me that people don’t want to be contained or limited by where the pavement ends. It is a refreshing realization. With so many positives, I don’t want to rush through this project just to “get it done”. That is why I have not ended my “only on foot” rule yet (if ever). I typically have to run close to a half marathon at this point to log new roads. Even as an ultrarunner, running a half marathon is not a daily occurrence. Will I succumb to the desire to mark the project as complete by altering that rule, or just enjoy chipping away at new streets only on long runs? I’m still not sure at this point. But since I am in no rush to be done with this project, I don’t see myself changing my rules to make it end any sooner than it would otherwise. 

If you’d like to follow along on my journey, follow the links below to my social media accounts and sign up for email notifications for this blog as I will be updating the status of this project across multiple platforms. Also, if you are embarking on your own #EverySingleStreet challenge I’d love to hear about it and feature you on my social media!

Saturday, May 16, 2020

High Desert Drop Bag Gear Review - Ditty Drop Bag


Update! The owner of High Desert Drop Bags recently contacted me to share this limited time discount code with all of my readers. Use code "BCTR-21" to receive 20% off of your order. Offer is valid 9/2/21 - 10/1/21.

I received a High Desert Drop Bag (Ditty Drop Bag) as a part of a swag package included with my entry to the inaugural Mines of Spain 100 mile trail race in October 2017. Since then it has become my “go to” and favorite drop bag I’ve used at any ultramarathon. It’s durable, keeps my gear dry, and cleans up easily after a day of getting tossed around and thrown in the dirt.

Some Quick Stats:
  • Front Identification Panel
  • Water resistant 400 denier nylon packcloth
  • #8 nylon coil zipper for easy access as well as security
  • 1/2" nylon webbing carry loop
  • Available in four easy-to-see colors
  • List price: $22.00 Plus shipping
  • Weight: 3.7 oz
  • Dimensions: 13.75 in × 16.75 in × 1 in

The Ditty Drop Bag is the smallest size drop bag offered by High Desert Drop Bags (Bishop, CA). They offer two larger size drop bags: The Dirt Bag (18.5 in x 19.5 in, 21 liters) and The Ultra (28.25 in x 19.5 in, 39 liters). Even though it is the smallest drop bag they offer, I have found the Ditty Drop Bag has plenty of room for everything I have wanted waiting for me at an aid station. I most recently used it at the Blackwell aid station (mile 80) of the 2019 Eastern States 100. For that race I easily fit all of the following in my Ditty Drop Bag.

In addition to the Ditty Drop Bag’s tolerance for rough handling without showing any signs of wear after a couple years of use, the other feature that stands out to me about this drop bag is the identification panel. It’s an aspect of the bag that may seem like a big fat nothing burger. At first take that was my thought about it as well. After using it a few times though, I realized how handy it was and how much more convenient and dependable it was than my previous methods of labeling my drop bags. In the past, I had attached some type of paper tag with all of my pertinent information to my makeshift drop bag with safety pins. To waterproof my homemade tag, I would seal it in box tape. This worked fine, but was a bit cumbersome and I always worried about the tag getting caught on something and ripped off or being made unreadable from rain seeping through my waterproofing. My other drop bag method was to just use a large Ziploc bag. This was super easy and completely waterproof, but I always worried about the bag tearing and losing some of my goods. The High Desert Drop Bag identification panel resolves all of these concerns. Now I just slap some duct tape on the panel and write my info on with a sharpie. Quick, easy, and no worries!

For me, High Desert Drop Bags have set the standard for other drop bags. No other bag I’ve used has worked as well or as conveniently as a drop bag than the Ditty Drop Bag. If you’re frustrated or even just kinda irked about a few issues your drop bag has caused you, I would recommend at least looking at what High Desert Drop Bags has to offer.

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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Hope During Dark, Uncertain Days




“Remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
- Stephen King - The Shawshank Redemption


Over just the past few weeks the situation regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has escalated from “just a hoax” to a global pandemic. As a result of policies dictated by governments worldwide, group gatherings and in person social interactions have been restricted to various degrees in an effort to slow the spread of the disease and avoid inundating health care institutions with a flood of patients requiring critical care beyond their capacities. The terms “flatten the curve” and “social distance” have become everyday common language.

With restricted group gatherings came race cancellations and indefinite postponements. It began with large marathons, smaller shorter distance races next, and finally trail races followed suit. It may seem a bit shallow to be concerned with race postponements and cancellations when people are dying due to a global pandemic, but running is more than just a hobby to many runners. The majority of their social relations may revolve around meeting up for group runs. Running may be an important part of their daily routine that motivates them for the start of the day or relaxes them at the end of the day. It can be the primary activity that keeps them focused, happy, or realigns them mentally. It can be a way of life. For me it’s a bit of all of those things.


So what is a runner who thrives on the camaraderie of group runs and the competition of races to do during these dark, uncertain days when all or a portion of one of their coping mechanisms may no longer be available to them. My best advice: maintain hope that this is temporary and all the aspects of running that we are currently missing will return. In the meantime while we wait out this indefinite period of social distancing, we can make the best of a challenging time and use the tools available to us to fill in some of the missing pieces. What options am I suggesting to replace racing and group runs? My short list includes virtual races, virtual group runs (Zwift), fastest known time (FKT) attempts, Strava king of the mountain (KOM) attempts, or your own personal run every street project.
 

I ran my first virtual race earlier this year, the 465 Challenge. It was basically an online challenge to finish as many 53 mile loops as you could running, biking, walking, hiking, or using any other self propelled means of travel during a two month period. I wasn’t a strong proponent of virtual races prior to running the 465 Challenge, but it did help get me motivated to pick up my training so I would be ready for my biggest running goal of 2020: to PR my longest distance run at my first 24 hour race. Unfortunately, I just received notice last week that the 24 hour race I intended to achieve this goal at was canceled to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The race was scheduled for the end of April so it didn’t come as a surprise; I was basically just waiting for the announcement to be made. Actually receiving the announcement and reading it was still a bit depressing.

In my opinion, virtual races can’t replace actual, in person races. But maybe they’re better than no races. I’ve almost decided to register for a virtual race happening next weekend, the Quarantine Backyard Ultra (QBU). The format of the QBU follows the standard last person standing rules, but will use a Zoom meeting to let participants interact between laps. I think this race has the potential to be a lot of fun and to allow me to run a distance PR thereby achieving my top 2020 running goal. I just never imagined I would run my longest ever run while competing against other runners in a Zoom meeting.


Of my other suggestions, another I am making use of is progressing my project to run every street of Egg Harbor Township. I personally have found this to be a fun, long term goal to work towards. For me it adds a little spice to what may have been otherwise just a routine solo run. It may take a little extra planning at times or force you to slow your pace, but it is a project that will likely take you to places that you had never and may have never discovered otherwise. It also allows you to track your progress towards a goal. For those benefits, it is a project that I have found rewarding and am thankful I began.

So if race cancellations/postponements and a lack of group runs have got you down when you you’re already stressed, nervous, and/or sad from all of the other repercussions due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I encourage you to try to find some solace in some of the offered suggestions. Keep your chin up and continue forward progress as we navigate this storm. And please, never lose hope.


Scott Snell
March 28, 2020


Thursday, February 27, 2020

What I hope to accomplish at my first 24 hour race and how a virtual challenge helped jump start my training for it




"Disclaimer: I received free entry to the 465 Challenge 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!"


Having run races slightly over 100 miles in distance and lasting over 30 hours, the time and distance that I want cover at my first 24 hour race do not worry me. My lowest tier goal (to run further than 105 miles) is definitely achievable for me given my past performances. My main concern is where my fitness level is at this point. After Eastern States 100 last August, I didn’t do a lot of running. In fact, I took much of November and December off, running only 102 and 48 miles respectively. I can’t exactly explain what happened leading up to Eastern States and shortly after. Maybe I was a bit burnt out on running altogether after a summer of training and more racing than I had done any previous year. Maybe it was more mental exhaustion from the summer long cycle of training to racing to training to racing over and over. Maybe I was putting too much pressure on myself to perform at a certain level at every race I ran. Maybe it was just that running wasn’t cheering me up like it used to. Whatever it was, it affected my relationship with running and just over the last two months I am beginning to feel like I’m getting back to a healthy place and a happy relationship with running.


I needed to feel good and be happy about running again if I wanted to have any chance of reaching my goals at my first 24 hour race. The motivation to run had eluded me longer and more successfully than it ever had since I had taken up running. I credit at least part of my renewed motivation to the 465 Challenge. This virtual challenge began on New Year’s Day of 2020, which is the point that I decided I needed to get my lethargic arse back into gear if I was going to be ready for the 24 hour race I had picked to run. The 465 Challenge lasted two months with the goal being to accumulate at least 53 miles in any form of self powered movement. The 53 mile challenge wouldn’t be enough to get me prepared, but the virtual event also offered incentives to do additional miles through their looper challenge. For the looper challenge every participant tracked how many 53 mile loops they could complete during the challenge. As I write this,I am currently at 300 miles or a little over 5.5 loops. Honestly, I do not know if I would have dove into my training with such commitment if it weren’t for the virtual challenge. The support and encouragement from other participants has been great for the last two months and I will miss it as I continue to train for the next month leading up the the 24 hour race.

What do I want from this 24 hour race? Obviously to reach my bottom tier goal of a distance personal record (greater than 105 miles). But there is more that I hope to have achieved when the 24 hours have passed after the start of the race. I want to be happy about my run. I want to feel proud of what I did. I want to be excited about the other races I plan to run this year. I want to put all of the negative thoughts and feelings I had towards the end of last summer behind me and I hope that running will be a tool to help me achieve that.



Scott Snell
February 27, 2020

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Every Single Street - Week 17 - 24% Complete





I was sure I was going to hit the 25% mark with my most recent run. It was my first long run of the year and my first long run to build towards my goal of running every single street of Egg Harbor Township (EHT), NJ. It was the longest distance run I had done since beginning to work towards this goal. I planned to do about a 20 mile run. The plan was to do about an eight mile out and back route and hit a few dead end roads off of that main out and back road to reach my mileage goal. I guess the out and backs on the dead ends added a bit more distance than I expected because after finishing my run it ended up being about 22.7 miles total. I was at 23.46% of streets of EHT complete on CityStrides before this run. I was certain that with this being my longest run since I had begun using CityStrides I would gain more than the slightly more than 1.5% I needed to pass the 25% milestone. What I was not certain of is what exactly CityStrides defines as “percentage complete”. Is it the percent of streets completed or is it the percent of total miles of streets within the city completed? After this long run increasing my percentage complete by only 0.57% (for a total of 24.03%) and previous shorter runs showing greater and unexpected percentage gains, I am guessing the percentage complete refers to percentage of streets completed and does not reflect mileage. A little digging on the CityStrides community page confirmed my guess:


https://community.citystrides.com/t/is-percentage-complete-based-on-number-of-streets-or-distance/18293

Was I disappointed to find that I hadn’t hit that milestone I was so sure I had surpassed? Maybe a bit, but in the bigger picture of this goal it’s not really relevant. After all, the goal is to get 100%. And with this experience I learned a bit more about and have a better understanding of the tool (CityStrides.com) I’m using to accomplish my goal. In addition, I haven’t yet made this project a high priority on my running agenda. I’ve been making small bits of progress on it as it is convenient and while the weather is pleasant. I still expect I’ll start making much greater progress as I get into some heavier training and as the bulk of my training returns to the outdoors.


Scott Snell
February 19, 2020


Other "Every Single Street" blog posts:
The beginning
Week 1


Twitter: https://twitter.com/beastcoasttrail
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/runscottrun/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beastcoasttrailrunning/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/snellscott

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Every Single Street - Week 1 - Egg Harbor Township, NJ



After one week of a dedicated effort to begin to take on the “Every Single Street” challenge, I have managed to increase the percentage of streets of Egg Harbor Township, NJ I’ve run from 1.94% to 7.63%. While this seems like a pretty substantial increase for a single week towards a goal that I have said is a long term goal, it’s important for me to keep in mind that this was likely one of the greatest gains I’ll make in a single week’s time, at least in the near future. Mainly because of the location of the streets I ran this past week and the weather.


I’m the first to admit that I am not a cold weather runner. Once the air temperature drops my running discomfort seems to always increase. The change in weather seems to induce a bit of asthma for me making outdoor running far less enjoyable. Given that and the fact that I bought myself a gym membership at the end of last year, I’ll likely be running many more treadmill miles this winter than actual road miles.


The second reason I probably won’t see this kind of increase again until next spring is because I started this project by basically running mostly streets all close to home for me. Obviously, this means as I run to streets farther from home I’ll be repeating mileage on streets I’ve already completed. That is of course unless I drive to location further from home to complete more streets while running less miles. While I may do that to complete some areas/neighborhoods, I want to try to complete as much of this project without driving at all. I’m not making this a hard rule for my project, but just want to see how far I can take it without resorting to any traveling other than running.



Scott Snell
November 7, 2019

Other "Every Single Street" blog posts:
The beginning
Week 17 - 24% Complete


Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Every Single Street - The Beginning - Egg Harbor Township, NJ





Today I made the decision to embark on a new running goal: to #RunAllTheStreets of my hometown, Egg Harbor Township, NJ. I don't have a specific target completion date, but at the same time I don't want this to become a never ending project either. I hope to comfortably complete it before the end of 2020. I'll be using City Strides and Strava to track my progress and plan my routes. I’m currently at 1.94% complete, a small fraction, but it's a start! Now only a little over 98% to go!

I first joined City Strides a little over a month ago without any real intention of actually using it to complete the #EverySingleStreet challenge. After joining, it took a week or so for my City Strides account to sync with my Strava account. And once it did, none of my past Strava runs had synced over to my City Strides account. Only my new Strava activities were syncing over. The manager of City Strides was responsive and has assured me that my past activities would sync, but it would take some time. A month or so later without any of the past activities syncing, I decided why wait to get started on running every single street for my past runs to sync over. Why not just start at zero? So that’s what I did today.

When I first heard about Rickey Gates’ project to run every single street in San Francisco, I thought it sounded kinda cool and kinda quirky, but I didn’t really have any desire to make an attempt at doing it myself in my hometown. I prefer running trails over roads to begin with and some roads are just crap roads to run due to a total lack of shoulders and high speed traffic. So why would I even want to run every single street? That’s what I thought until I joined City Strides just on a whim to see what percentage of my hometown’s streets I had already run. When it began to seem like my past activities wouldn’t sync over any time soon, I for the most part moved on and didn’t give it much further thought. I would occasionally check to see if my past activities had synced, but it still just showed newly recorded runs. Eventually I decided to be proactive about it and just start anew, running a few new streets I knew I had never run before. 



It wasn’t until today while running a host of new streets to up that percentage that I decided I would commit to running every single street. I was running and thinking (my favorite past time) about how I have been lacking motivation to run lately. The reasons for the lack of motivation are mostly due to the changing weather, shorter daylight hours, and the fact that I’m not currently registered for any races. I thought that maybe starting in on this new running goal/project would spark a bit of a fire to get me excited about going out for runs again when I’m not specifically training for anything. And for today, it did! Hopefully I can stay excited and engaged about this project throughout the winter when I tend to cut back pretty heavily on my running mileage. And if all goes as planned, I’ll be able to say I’ve run 100% (or nearly) of the streets of Egg Harbor Township, NJ by the end of 2020!

If you’d like to follow along on my journey, follow the links below to my social media accounts and sign up for email notifications for this blog as I will be updating the status of this project across multiple platforms. Also, if you are embarking on your own #EverySingleStreet challenge I’d love to hear about it and feature you on my social media!

Twitter: https://twitter.com/beastcoasttrail
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/runscottrun/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/beastcoasttrailrunning/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/snellscott
Reddit:  https://www.reddit.com/r/Strava/comments/cyfx0q/running_every_street/

Scott Snell
October 29, 2019


Other "Every Single Street" blog posts:
The beginning

Week 1
Week 17 - 24% Complete



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