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Showing posts with label 24 hour. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 24 hour. Show all posts

Friday, November 3, 2023

2023 October Monthly Mileage Check In

Scott snell beast coast trail bigs backyard

I racked up 385 miles last month with the majority of them during the Big’s Backyard Individual World Championships. The end of the race was a little bittersweet for me as I had hoped to stay in the race quite a bit longer than I did. At the same time, my final yard was one of the most intense pushes to complete a yard that I have ever made at a backyard. It was all the more enjoyable as I was working with Levi Yoder, teammate from the 2022 USA Backyard Team, for the last two miles or so of the yard and we made it in with just over two minutes to spare. Overall, the experience was great with the highlights being meeting so many talented backyard runners from around the world and being able to run with the majority of the 2022 USA Backyard Team again! What a great group that I look forward to running with again! Which leads me to my 2024 plans, or lack thereof. As of now, nothing is certain but going back to Big's for a second team competition year is certainly on my list of possibilities. Especially if my 75 yard performance at Capital this year holds up and is good enough for an at large spot on the team. For the rest of the year, well I'm still trying to figure that out.


3 November 2023

Scott Snell


Sunday, October 8, 2023

Big's Backyard - 2023 Individual Championship Poll - Full Results

 



On a bit of whim that popped in my head while running I decided to create a poll to gauge the backyard community’s thoughts on how they expect and how they would hope to see the 2023 Individual World Championship play out this year at Big’s Backyard. I shared the link to the poll in multiple Facebook groups, on several 𝕏 posts, and on the r/backyardultra subreddit. The poll asked six questions:

  1. Will a new course record be set this year at Big's Backyard?
  2. Will a new world record be set this year at Big's Backyard?
  3. How many yards will Big's Backyard go this year?
  4. Who do you want to see win?
  5. Who do you think will provide the assist?
  6. Who do you think will be the last one standing?

This poll was strictly for fun, and it has been quite fun to check in as the responses are received. As promised, here is a summary of the results. The full data set of results are available on this Google Sheet.

*In the interest of full disclosure, I submitted a response which is included in the results. *


Will a new course record be set this year at Big's?

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The overwhelming majority of respondents believe that a new course record will be set this year at Big’s. In fact, 90.5% of all responses were “Yes.” I didn’t look at the survey results on a regular schedule, but every time I did check the “Yes” responses hovered right around 90%.


Will a new world record be set this year at Big's?

Again, the majority of respondents are predicting a new world record will be set at Big’s. It is certainly a bit more balanced than the prediction for the course record with 56.2% responding “Yes” and 43.8% giving a “No” response. The results from this question fluctuated a bit more than the course record question. The first few times I checked results, it was pretty evenly split with close to 50/50 responses. It wasn’t until the last few days of the poll that the responses started leaning more heavily towards a “Yes” majority.



How many yards will Big's go this year?

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This question received the most evenly distribute responses of all the questions that had more than two options. Nearly all respondents (96.3%) agree that Big’s will go over 80 yards. The most common response was 81-95 yards which was selected by 20.4% of respondents. The second most common response was 106-110 with 19.7%. I’m not ruling out that Big’s will go over 120 yards, but I was surprised by how many people believe it will. The “greater than 120” response was the third most common tied with 96-100, each selected by 14.6% of respondents.


Who do you want to see win?

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Phil Gore, Jennifer Russo, and Harvey Lewis were the three stand out runners for this question receiving 16.1, 11.7, and 10.9% of the total responses. I assume that most runners who responded to this poll selected themselves for this question, I unabashedly admit I did and can understand why. What I don’t understand is why anyone would select “No winner” for this question, but there it is with 1.5% of the responses received. 


Who do you think will provide the assist?

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Selected by over 60% of respondents, four runners were picked as the strong favorites to provide the assist this year at Big’s: Phil Gore (16.8%), Harvey Lewis (15.3%), Merijn Geerts (14.6%), and Sam Harvey (13.9%). 


Who do you think will be the last one standing?

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I think it comes as no surprise to anyone that the most picked runner to be the last one standing is the current backyard ultra world record holder, Phil Gore, selected by 29.2% of all respondents. Also not surprisingly, former co-backyard ultra world record holder, Merijn Geerts was picked second most frequently. Geerts was selected by 16.1% of all respondents. A close third, selected by 13.1% of all respondents, was Sam Harvey who provided the assist to Phil Gore this year at Dead Cow Gully Backyard where the current world record was set. Former world record holder, current US record holder, and Big’s Backyard course record holder, Harvey Lewis, was selected by 9.5% of all respondents making him the fourth most selected runner to be the last one standing. A result that I found surprising was that Ivo Steyaert, former co-backyard ultra world record holder with Geerts, was only selected by 3.6% of respondents, barely ranking in the top 5 most frequently selected runners. 



Scott Snell

8 October, 2023

Friday, October 6, 2023

2023 September Monthly Mileage Check In

 

Scott Snell beastcoasttrail beast Coast trail

“Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish.” — Michelangelo



I was pretty apprehensive about going into my training plan this September. It is the last full month of training leading up to Big’s Backyard and I had just missed my mileage training goal for August. I wasn’t sure how I would rebound from that missed mark. I felt like if it didn’t go well, I wouldn’t have a chance at Big’s to accomplish anywhere near what I hope to accomplish. Thankfully, with some perseverance and determination, September’s training went better than I ever expected and I bounced right back to where I hoped to be by the end of September. Not only did I hit my mileage goal of averaging at least 11 miles per day, I exceeded it by quite a bit averaging 12.49 miles per day with a total of 374.7 miles! Last year I averaged 10.2 miles per day for September; with the increase in training mileage this year I fully expect to have an improved performance at Big’s. Not only do I have the increased training boosting my confidence as I conclude my training and begin to gradually taper, but I also have the advantage this year of having experienced running through a third night in the backyard format during Capital Backyard Ultra (CBU). Having overcome the mental hurdle that accompanies running through a third night, I feel far more prepared this year than I did last year going into Big’s. Additionally, having been there last year, having a respectable performance, and then bettering my PR with a win at CBU, I finally feel like I’ve overcome the imposter syndrome that I felt last year at Big’s. I finally feel like I’ve earned my spot there. That is a much better mental space to be in when taking on a challenge that you fully expect to push you to your limit, testing you physically and mentally until either you break or succeed. And that is how I intend for Big’s to conclude, with either success or failure. 


Scott Snell

4 October 2023


“There is no good try.

There is no almost. 

There is only success or failure.”

Laz



Sunday, September 3, 2023

2023 August Mileage

 

Beast Coast Trail Running Giants Ledge


#Monthlymileage check in... Initially I was pretty disappointed with my August mileage. I finished the month with 268 miles for an average of 8.66 miles per day. It felt like it was a pretty big drop from my July mileage of 313 miles with an average of 10.11 miles per day. Since my loose training plan for Big's is to increase my average daily mileage every month leading up to Big's (June - September), I obviously missed the mark for August. Like I said, at first I was pretty upset about this, but then I realized I had still run a higher daily average mileage this August than August of last year (8.4 miles per day) leading up to Big's. Then I considered the number of rest days and lower mileage days I had in August and the reasons for them: a week long camping trip with the family, a day trip to Philadelphia and a Phillies game with my older boys, and a few visits with extended family. After considering it all, I was no longer upset about the mileage drop and decided maybe it was for the best. I may have burned myself out trying to keep up that mileage for another entire month. Now, as I start focusing on September training, I feel fresh and excited to ramp up the volume and be in the best form possible mentally and physically for Big's in October!

Scott Snell 
3 September 2023



Saturday, July 1, 2023

2023 June Monthly Mileage


Beast Coast Trail running scott Snell

Monthly Mileage check in! I ran 151.82 miles in June. This was a bit less than my normal training mileage and a huge drop from last month when I ran over 500 miles, but it was too be expected. I knew I'd have a few weeks of lower mileage for recovery after Capital. Then I just wanted to take some time to enjoy with the family before diving back into serious training. A week long bout of colds and congestion in our household also added a few unplanned rest days. Some down time is good between training cycles. It reinvigorates and prevents burn out while reminding me that there are more important things in life than this silly running habit of mine. In the midst of serious training cycles I can develop some pretty serious tunnel vision. Sometimes I need to step away to appreciate the bigger picture life goals.

This month's mileage is also a great reminder of the relativity of it all. I ran my first ultra in 2015, the Blues Cruise 50k. That year my highest monthly mileage was 155. I only exceeded 100 miles four months that year. After 7-8 years of getting into this whole ultrarunning thing, a low mileage month with a recovery and some sickness is about the same as my best month from my first year of ultrarunning. This exercise of comparing my present self to my past self helps to remind me of how far I've come as a runner and how I continue to push my standards and work for improvement.

Scott Snell
1 July 2023


Tuesday, June 13, 2023

Took a Fall... Recovering from Capital Backyard Ultra

 


Well, my first recovery run after Capital Backyard Ultra felt pretty good. I had some muscle soreness, but for taking only four rest days after a 312.5 mile effort I felt pretty good about the run. I was on my way back from my normal road/trail route and on my last stretch of trail along a power line cut when I caught my toe on a root. This is a non technical trail that I really shouldn’t be falling on, not saying I never have before, but it really shouldn’t happen if I’m not over tired or just not paying attention. Anyway, I took a fall, got up, and dusted myself off. Then I laughed. I laughed because in the 312.5 miles I ran at Capital Backyard Ultra, even with the severe sleep deprivation and through the darkness, I never fell once. And now on this easy trail run, less than a quarter mile until I’m back on a paved surface, I eat crap on the trail. Funny how life and trail running works out sometimes.

Scott Snell
13 June 2023


Monday, June 12, 2023

May 2023 Monthly Mileage Check In


Monthly Mileage check in! I feel like it's kind of misleading to claim 521 monthly miles for May without including some acknowledgement that the bulk of those miles (312.5 of them to be exact) came from a single run at Capital Backyard Ultra (CBU). Also important to note is that I also had a couple of taper weeks with reduced mileage leading up to CBU, so maybe it all kinda balances out. However you slice it though, it is a new personal record for me for monthly mileage with my previous best being May last year with 380 miles, so as far as I’m concerned it is cause for celebration. After some rest and recovery, I’m back at it and training for what’s next. That includes Big’s this October and possibly a shorter race between now and then… we’ll see.

Scott Snell
12 June 2023

Monday, May 22, 2023

2023 Adventure Trail Run - 24 Hour Event

Beast Coast Trail running scott Snell adventure 24 hour finish

A little over two weeks have passed since the 24 hour Adventure Trail Run and I am wrapping up my final training week before going into a taper period to prepare for Capital Backyard Ultra. I decided to run the 24 hour Adventure Trail Run for a few reasons. The main reason was for a bit of redemption after being disappointed in my performance at my last race (Big’s Backyard) and my last time running the 24 hour Adventure Trail Run two years ago (if you’re looking for a more complete course description, go to that race report). The second reason was to serve as a warm up race and fitness/endurance check leading into Capital. I wasn’t completely successful in fully achieving the first of those goals, but I felt really good about the second.

The Adventure Trail Run is a combination of timed and distance trail running events held at Prince William Forest Park (National Park Service) in Triangle, VA. This year the event offered 8 hour solo, 4 person relay 24 hour, solo 24 hour, 50k, and 100k options. The course is basically a lollipop design with a 1 mile out and back to a 4 mile loop. The 1 mile out and back section is definitely the most challenging in my opinion and basically my only gripe about the race, so let me get that out of the way. It is probably the most consistently technical section of the course with intermittent stretches of jagged rocks and toe catching exposed roots. It also has many short but steep climbs and descents to deal with. In addition to the technicality of that narrow single track section was the fact that it was also the section of the course where you had to deal with two way traffic of runners. Since this is a relatively small event (around 100 runners) it didn’t present a major problem but with 50k and 100k runners on the course at the same time as the 24 hour runners, it did feel a bit congested to me on a few occasions and made it feel like I couldn’t get into a flow of running. This year I kept on thinking about how that section of the course was like an analogy of Washington DC traffic; drive 70 mph for a few minutes then stop and go for ten minutes and repeat.

I alluded to it earlier about how one motivating factor for me to run the 24 hour Adventure Trail Run again was for a bit of redemption and to hit the missed targets I set for myself last time I ran it. My goal at the race two years ago was to break the course record of 108 miles and I narrowly missed the mark finishing with 103 miles. I’d say that last time I missed that goal primarily due to the fitness level just not being there and a lack of training. Even after failing again (finishing with 100 miles), I still believe the fitness was there this year, but other factors led to my demise. I can reduce those factors to three words, but will expand upon them: weather, diarrhea, and priorities.


Weather: For the most part the weather during the entire 24 hour race was great. It was a cool morning and didn’t warm up too much going into the afternoon. With the 7 AM start it was in the low 60s and never rose past the low 70s which is pretty much ideal running weather in my opinion. The weather trouble started for me when a powerful storm system rolled through in the early afternoon. I had seen it forecasted, but looking at the temperatures I figured it would be a warm rain and I’d be fine running through it. However, the rain was downright cold and the temperature dropped enough to cause me to feel extremely chilled. The storm hit quickly at the midway point of my 11th lap, if I remember correctly. I was quickly soaked and shivering as I completed the second half of that lap thinking about how I didn’t have any rain gear and contemplating quitting and calling it a day. Thankfully, a race volunteer I had met at Capital Backyard and spent some time with again at Big’s saved me. (Thank you Marty!) As soon as I came in shivering and soaked, Marty asked me if I needed anything, warm soup or other warm food. I told him I was good with food, but what I really needed was a rain jacket. Without hesitation, Marty ran to his car to grab his jacket for me to borrow. He even zipped it up for me as my hands were shaking so badly from shivering at that point that I probably would have fumbled with the zipper. And with that crisis averted, I was back on the trail towards my goal. Unfortunately, it did set me back a bit. However, the impact would be felt later in the race. Prior to the storm, all of my laps had been under an hour and a half. They were under 1:20 for the first 50k and under 1:30 for the second 50k so I was definitely on my target pace up to that point. However, lap 11, when the storm hit, and lap 12, as the storm cleared, were 1:35 and 1:41 respectively. It was not a huge increase in time, but it affected my decision making towards the end of my race.

Diarrhea: Maybe I don’t need to expand on this one too much or go into too much detail other than to say that I had some gastrointestinal issues for a good portion of the race. So much so that at one point I ran past the single restroom on the course just after the aid station thinking to myself that I don’t have to go too bad only to turn around about 100 feet later because it quickly became an emergency bio break. I felt good without any issues for the first 100k or so, but after that every fart felt like a huge gamble. Honestly, it was probably the worst and most drawn out bout of gastrointestinal issues I’ve ever dealt with during a race. I was eating another anti-diarrhea pill for about 3-4 passes through the aid station, and it didn’t seem to improve the situation. I also can’t really pinpoint what caused it which is troubling. I was eating food I had before and using the same types of gels so I don’t think my calorie sources were the cause. Regardless of the cause, the effect was time. It didn’t slow my running pace much, but frequent bio breaks, as brief as you try to make them, begin to accumulate the minutes and those minutes add up. I’d say I probably used the restroom right after leaving the aid station at least 4-5 times and I made at least 2 emergency trail bio breaks. Even at only about 5 minutes a stop, that’s a half hour of time lost not spent covering ground.

Priorities: The last nail in the coffin for my course record goal was my prioritization of races and motivations. I completed my 14th lap (84ish miles) at about the 19 hour mark leaving me five hours to complete another three laps. By this point I was feeling pretty worked over and wasn’t sure if I could complete another three laps within that time. I thought it was possible, but I knew it would be close, maybe really close. I also knew that if I didn’t complete the third lap by the end of the race I’d finish with 16.5 laps, the exact same distance as my last attempt. I really didn’t want to push super hard for another five hours only to match what I had done last time. Adding to my lack of motivation to push for the last five hours was the fact that after the previous lap I was informed that the leader of the race had just stopped at 13 laps putting me in the lead without anyone really close behind. With all of this information swirling around my groggy brain I was also thinking about my next race, Capital Backyard Ultra, and how I want to be in the best form possible there. Although now it sounds a bit more like an excuse to me, at the time it sounded like a smart move to make and I decided I would take it easy for the remainder of the race. I decided to power hike another lap and then reassess whether it was necessary for me to go back out for another lap to be certain that my first place finish was still secured.

Beast Coast Trail running scott Snell adventure trail run 24 hour

I returned from my power hiked 15th lap with about two hours left on the clock and almost a guarantee that I had first place locked up. With 94ish miles, first place secure, and two hours left in the race I was ready to call it, get cleaned up, and maybe even get a nap before breakfast. I was pretty much decided while sitting by the fire at the aid station explaining this situation to a couple other runners and some race volunteers when the RD, Alex, came over yelling for me to go back out for another lap. I tried to explain that I had Capital coming up in a month and I wanted to just begin the recovery process so I can get another couple weeks of good training in before I start another taper. He wasn’t having it though because one more lap would mean I would hit 100 miles. I fought it for a bit longer, but eventually I gave in and went back out.

As much as I didn’t want to at the time, I was eventually happy that I went back out for another lap to hit the 100 mile mark. Especially when I was chatting with other runners and volunteers at the breakfast after the race. I knew it kinda felt douchey to quit with two hours on the clock, ample time for another lap, just because you know you have first place secured. So in the end, that extra push to go back out for 100 really made it a run I could be more proud of and it certainly felt like a more noble way to win the race then to just put my feet up and wait for the last couple hours.

Beast Coast Trail running scott Snell adventure trail 24 hour finish

So that explains how I missed my first target for the race, but doesn’t address the second, to serve as a warm up race and fitness/endurance check leading into Capital. While I ran this timed race, I was thinking a lot about expected effort and perceived effort. The first time I ran this race I didn’t think hitting the course record would be too tough, but it was much tougher than expected. This time around, I wasn’t shocked that it was challenging which made it easier to keep fighting towards that goal. Even though I ultimately came up short on my A goal, I’m happy with where I was mentally and physically throughout the race. I was clear with my hierarchy of priorities. This race forced me to push through weather related, physical, and mental challenges. The overnight portion was a great practice night run for Capital, to familiarize myself with running through the night before being shocked by the drowsiness during the first night at Capital. It also gave me one more tool for my sleep derivation fighting toolbox, Five Hour Energy. I brought one bottle of Five Hour Energy not really expecting to need it, but just in case I was feeling drowsy I figured I could test it out. Turns out it helped me tremendously during the wee hours of the morning. Based on my experience with it during this race, I am bringing three bottles to Capital.

I could torture myself with a bunch of “what if”s and “only if”s about missing my A goal like I did last time I ran this race, but I’m not doing it this time around. Once the motivation of chasing that first place spot was gone and reaching my A goal was extremely uncertain, my focus immediately went to Capital. And that’s fine because at Capital and the nature of the backyard race format, whether I reach it or not, I will never not be chasing first place until the race is over.



Scott Snell
14 May 2023

Wednesday, May 3, 2023

April Monthly Mileage Check In

 

Scott Snell beast Coast Trail

Monthly Mileage check in! I ran 322 miles in April with 100 of them during a 24 hour trail race. My last run was very fitting for April. I was hoping for a break in the rain, but as the rain continued all day it seemed like my options were either run in the rain or not run at all. I chose the former. I ran into the storm and lo and behold I found the sun on my way home and brought it back with me. With my last full month of training build up for Capital Backyard Ultra complete, I am feeling great about where my fitness is and how this training block went. Now that I’m feeling mostly recovered from my 24 hour effort, I am becoming more confident that sneaking a race in before Capital was a good move. It served several purposes: to get my pre-race jitters and anxiety out of the way with a lower priority race, test my fitness level for a long effort, and to reintroduce me to the physical and mental challenges of overnight running during an endurance event so it is not such a shock to the system the first night of Capital. I pretty much always go into races, especially backyards, with high expectations, but this time around I feel even more prepared than I was at previous backyard starts. At this point, my plan is to stay healthy until race day and hope the days and nights go smoothly. 


1 May 2023

Scott Snell





Thursday, April 20, 2023

Preparing for a 24 hour - Taper Panicking



By the numbers, yesterday’s run wasn’t amazing for any reason. It wasn’t a tough work out. It wasn’t at a high intensity or a faster than normal pace. The distance wasn’t crazy long or even any farther than my average training run. I did not reach any significant milestones for the month, year, or the number of miles on my shoes. Barring all the things it was not, yesterday’s run was special. The numbers and data behind the run didn’t make it interesting or significant, but the feeling of it did. Which is exactly what I needed to feel ready and prepared for this weekend’s 24-hour trail race.

The day before after getting home from work I began to feel depleted, like my mind and body needed some time off. That isn’t the feeling I was hoping for halfway through my taper week leading up to what I expect to be a pretty hard effort for 24 hours. I caught myself sneeze a couple of times and my throat felt scratchy. I feared I may me getting sick as my son was still getting over a cold he picked up a couple of weeks ago. Waves of anxiety, panic, and anger all took turns floating to the surface of my emotions as I feared that this was going to be a repeat of my last race that I ended up running while still recovering from a cough/cold. That would most likely make this weekend’s race a total sufferfest. Although my wife has told me, “you’re the best sufferer,” that doesn’t mean that I seek out extra opportunities to suffer or actually enjoy it.

I decided that as soon as the kids’ extracurricular activities were over for the night, getting ready for bed and getting some rest was my number one priority. But shortly after we got home my son reminded me that we had run our 1 mile training run for the day yet. We had just started running a mile a day this week because he wanted to train for his school’s fitness challenge run. I honestly had forgotten about it for the night, but when he asked if I was ready, I couldn’t bail on him and say no. We got our headlamps and went out for our mile. Once finished, it was bedtime.

Yesterday didn’t seem like it was going to be a change in my mental outlook or physical health until I managed to get out for my run after getting home from work. My legs felt great! I was full of energy and truly happy to run after a day of feeling worn out. Most importantly though, it was the confidence booster I needed to be ready for a 24-hour effort. It resolved the taper week feelings of panic I was experiencing just the previous day. It set my headspace right to trust my training and know that I have done the work to be as prepared as possible for a challenging physical endeavor. It’s almost go time, and I am ready!


Scott Snell
20 April 2023




Saturday, April 1, 2023

March Monthly Mileage Check In

 



Monthly mileage check in! Yesterday's run brought me to just over 300 miles for the month and 800 for the year! I'm feeling good and excited for my first race of the year, a 24 hour trail race in April! My goal is to achieve what I set out to do there two years ago: set a new course record. I feel better prepared and am confident I will hit my goal as long as I have a decent day!


Why the 300 theme? Well other than the mileage significance, it is due to a comment I received at Keystone Backyard Ultra about my tent / aid station set up. After the race, I heard someone describe my set up as very "spartan." I took a bit of pride in receiving that comment and still think about it over two years later when I pack for backyard races. Let's go 2023! Always room for improvement!

Scott Snell
1 April 2023

Thursday, March 24, 2022

St. Jude Fundraising Success and a Happy Birthday Run




I am so happy and excited to report that my fundraising effort for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® has been a complete success this year! Thanks to the generous donations of friends and family, we have raised nearly $600 through the St. Jude Heroes program and I couldn’t be happier about it. I am so grateful to everyone for their contributions!


This success is in stark contrast to last year’s fundraising effort. Last year I ran three events (a birthday 41 miler, Adventure Trail 24 Hour, and Keystone Backyard Ultra) and incorporated a fundraising component. After the three running and fundraising efforts, I came up short of my fundraising goal so I donated a portion of my cash prize from Keystone Backyard Ultra to reach my fundraising goal of $250. This year my fundraising goal was exceeded after the first running event I had lined up, my birthday 42 mile run.


And for an extra thick layer of icing on the cake, my 42 mile birthday run went really well, but not without a few challenges along the way. First off was a small change of plans due to some less than pleasant and potentially dangerous weather. I had planned to run the bulk of the 42 miles on a stretch of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. However, leading up to the Saturday I had planned to run, the weather forecast was predicting showers and potentially severe thunderstorms. I decided to push my run back one day and run on some local trails instead when the weather forecast looked better. Well, Saturday arrived and what I expected to be a rainy washout of a day was a beautiful, sunny day. I decided to make hay while the sun was shining and headed out to run early in the afternoon after the threat of thunderstorms was nil.



An additional challenge was also weather related. Getting a later start than I had planned, the bulk of my run was during the warmest part of the day and it was a pretty warm mid March day with highs reaching the low 70’s. The local trails I run on are only a few miles from home for me, so I figured I’d wear my hydration vest, return home once to refill and then finish the bulk of my 42 miles on the trail. Well, I made it to 22 miles when I stopped to refill my bottles, but I ran through my fluids much more quickly during the second half of my run. With seven miles left and no fluids, I decided it was time to head home and refill. With only about five miles left to go after my second refill stop, I decided to just finish my run on roads around my neighborhood. Although I planned to do more on trails, overall the run was a nice mix of roads and trails. Not to mention, it felt good to get a faster road mile in at the end.

A final challenge that had to be faced during this run was the fact that it had been a decent amount of time since my last long run. My last LONG run was at the Last Squatch Standing at the end of August 2021, over six months ago. I had run a few runs around or slightly over 20 miles since then, but nothing where you get to that exhaustion point when your brain says “quit” and you have to mentally overcome the desire to stop. It is a real mental challenge that seems to me to be more manageable when it is familiar. In other words, I find it’s harder to run long distances if it’s been awhile since I’ve run a long distance. Thankfully, I was able to reacquaint myself with my old frenemy and see my run through to its end.


This was my running my second consecutive year of running my age in miles to celebrate my birthday. For me, this is a fun way to celebrate being alive. It also is a great way to get an early, easy paced long run in to kick off the training season. For those reasons, I intend to celebrate my birthday this way every year as long as I am still capable.




Scott Snell
March 24, 2022




Learn more about my fundraising goal here: https://www.beastcoasttrailrunning.com/2022/02/2022-st-jude-heroes-fundraising-campaign.html




Direct link to St. Jude donation page: https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=6955516&pg=personal&fr_id=130587



Friday, April 30, 2021

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



"Disclaimer: I received Science In Sport Immune Tablets to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!"


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

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








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


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


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

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

Literature Cited


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

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

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

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

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












Friday, April 23, 2021

Adventure Trail Run - 24 Hour Event 2021


My first place overall finisher award!

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

The night sky the whining before the race.

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

Just before the start!

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

My gear for the race.

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

My cabin for the night before the race.

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

The inside of the cabin.

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

A temporary tattoo I tried it for the race.

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

Most of my gel packaging.

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

Preparing for the drive home.

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

At the finish!

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

Recovery time.





Scott Snell

April 22, 2021