Amazon

Showing posts with label ultrarunning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ultrarunning. Show all posts

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












Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Taper Week and Calling My Shot For My First 24 Hour Race



It is Monday and less than a week out from my first 24 hour race which makes this a taper week. Along with taper week(s) come a few changes, some good and some not so good. The greatest positive in my opinion is just the additional free time that was spent running and training can now be reallocated to other areas. For me this means more family time and being able to help out more with all of the household chores. While I see this as an overall positive, I probably end up wasting a decent amount of that extra time just scrolling on social media. It takes far more discipline for me to put the phone down and do something productive around the house than it does for me to not even pick the phone up when it’s time for a run. 

So, what about the negative aspects of tapering? Well the most obvious is of course less running. I think it’s true of most runners, I know it is for me, but when I don’t get to run I can get grumpy. My wife may even go as far to say that I have a shorter temper when I go for too long without running. Not benefitting from the mental health aspects of running definitely affects my overall mood. During tapering it’s not so bad for me as there is an end date in sight and it is all in preparation to have the best race day possible, so it is a good trade off. Not running due to injury, that’s a completely different situation. 

Which leads to the second negative I’ve noticed more during this taper period than past ones; I’ve found that I’ve become a bit more anxious. Maybe part of this is just build up to race day nerves after not racing in so long and the lack of the relaxation and mental health benefits that come with running, but a decent part of it is due to becoming overly concerned with injury just before race day. In the past week I’ve paid far more attention to every little twinge of pain and ache anywhere on my body. Especially any area where I may have dealt with a previous injury. A little extra tightness in the calf and I’m worried it’s that calf flare up that took me out for almost a whole month of running last year. A sharp pain in the arch of my foot and I’m immediately thinking I’m going to be sidelined with plantar fasciitis. I’ve mostly been able to calm myself and realize I’m overreacting, but talk about unnecessary stress! 

My final long training run before my first 24 race.

And to close this blog post, as the title suggests I have a very specific goal for this race: to run 112.5 miles before the end of the 24 hours. This equates to 18 loops on the 6.25 mile race course and an overall average pace of 12:48 per mile. This distance would also increase my single run distance PR by about 6 miles completing one of my running goals for the year. Since the current course record is 108 miles, maybe my goal is a bit over ambitious or not necessarily within my capabilities. But why not aim for a greater goal rather than a less challenging one that I’m sure I would be capable of reaching? Obtaining painless goals for the sake of completing goals is a meaningless pursuit in my mind. Shooting for the pinnacle of individual success is one of the most motivating aspects of ultrarunning for me and I don’t plan on that mentality changing. 

Scott Snell 
April 12, 2021

Friday, March 12, 2021

Birthday 41 Miler and St. Jude Charity Campaign Kick Off



I’m just a day away from running my final long training run in preparation for my first 24 hour race (Adventure Trail) which will be my first race since August 2019. For that reason, it’s a bit of a monumental run but there are a few other reasons why this run will be of particular significance. For one, I’ll be running 41 miles to celebrate my 41st birthday. Additionally, I’m using this run as the official start of my charity campaign to raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.


Running my age in miles to celebrate my birthday is something I’ve thought about doing, but never committed to until this year. It will be a bit different than my standard birthday celebrations with exuberant amounts of singing, dancing, and drinking with hundreds of my closest friends (yes, that was sarcasm; I don’t have a hundred friends). In the age of COVID, we just can’t do that anymore. So what’s the next best thing? A long solo run of course! Usually a training run longer than 50k just doesn’t make sense for the shorter distance ultra spring races I’ve registered for in the past. With this year’s first race being significantly longer, a 24 hour in which I hope to cover over 100 miles, an easy paced 40 mile training run seems much more sensible to me.


My training goal for this run is to complete the 41 miles at or slightly faster than my target pace (12:48 per mile) for the 24 hour race. I hope to do this comfortably and feel like my legs still have plenty of life left in them when I finish. If I can pull this off it will be a huge confidence boost in the final stages of race prep and will hopefully require minimal recovery time considering I’m not trying to push the pace.


My charity campaign goal is simple, just to raise some funds for a good cause while I selfishly run. Yes, running does seem selfish to a degree to me. At least long distance running does. I know it improves my mood and keeps me more mentally and emotionally healthy which makes me a better father and husband, but is it really necessary for me to disappear for 3 hour training runs on the weekends? Is it essential to my well being for me to be absent for entire weekends when I go away for a race? Ultimately, would I get the same benefits from running as I do now if I just ran 3, 5, or maybe 10 miles on a long day? At least part of me believes that to be true. But I’m starting to meander off on a tangent now. Maybe this topic deserves its own blog post; I just wanted to explain part of the reason why I have wanted to raise money for a cause as a result of my running, in part to feel less selfish.


I’m hoping to achieve these fundraising goals through a few avenues between now and the end of April:
  • Run-A-Thon as a St. Jude Hero
  • Charity Miles App
  • Head Shaving and Hair Donation
Trail Run-A-Thon - Pledge X Dollars Per Mile for My 24 Hour Race

I am asking donors to pledge whatever amount they want for each mile I run during the 24 hour race (Adventure Trail) on April 17. Decide how much you’d like to give per mile then make the donation after the official final mileage is posted. Pledges can be made using this Google form. You can donate directly at my St. Jude Heroes fundraising site or on my Facebook Fundraiser page
You may ask why I chose St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The answer, I’m a strong supporter of their mission “to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of our founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family's ability to pay.” Additionally, they seem to be an efficiently run nonprofit. They received a 4 star rating and overall score of 91.42 from Charity Navigator (call me a cynic if you want, but I feel better about researching a charity before donating).


Earning Additional Funds Using the Charity Miles App


Since I log all of my running miles anyway, I figured why not raise some additional funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital every time I run. It’s pretty simple to set up an account with the Charity Miles App and once it is connected to my Strava account it requires no additional effort on my part to earn funds for my chosen charity. With my Strava account synced to the Charity Miles App, for every mile I log, I help earn money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital from Charity Miles’ corporate sponsorship pool.


Hair Donation and Head Shaving

So this one isn’t really running related, but it provides the background story that motivated me most to do this whole fundraising endeavor. I started growing my hair out a little over 2 years ago in order to donate it to the nonprofit Children With Hair Loss. The main motivation for me to do this was after learning that a friend of mine from grade school did the same. His motivation was that his young child was being treated for leukemia. Thankfully, his child responded well to treatments and is now cancer free. After hearing his story and wondering why it happened to him and his only child while I have been lucky enough to be blessed with three healthy children, I figured the least I could do to help one of these kids out is to grow some hair to donate.  #CutPassLove


Thank you for reading! Any support you can provide is very much appreciated!


March 12, 2021

Scott Snell

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

2021 Goals


Now that the New Year’s Eve celebrations are over I thought it would be a good time to get my running goals for 2021 in writing and try to add some structure to my plans for this year. My goal setting this year may look mostly like a repeat of last year’s. Which as you will probably guess is due to several goals involving races that were postponed due to race cancellations in the wake of the global COVID-19 pandemic. So my number one goal from last year, to test my limit at a 24 hour race, will carry over and be my number one goal this year at the rescheduled 24 hour event I intended to run last year. And again, I hope to improve my longest distance PR (goal #2) at this event. I actually achieved the distance PR goal last year increasing my longest distance run from 104 miles to 106 miles while setting the Batona Trail out and back FKT. However, I hoped to increase that PR more than just 2 miles last year so I will attempt to better that PR again this year at the rescheduled 24 hour event. Silver lining, I get the opportunity to better my distance PR two years in a row!

Maybe I’m being over cautious, but as of now those are my only running goals that require an actual event. After nearly all of last year’s events were cancelled and the uncertainty of what will happen this year, I don’t want to have to depend on race events to accomplish my running goals.



My only other running goals this year are to attempt another FKT and to progress my project to run every single street (ESS) of Egg Harbor Township. For the ESS project, I don’t expect or plan to finish this year. If I can surpass 75% complete (currently just under 50%) I’ll be happy with that progress. And if you’ve been following as I’ve been working on this goal for the last year, the answer is no, I do not plan to start driving to more convenient starting locations to finish more quickly.


My FKT plans are a bit uncertain and more fluid than my other goals. Which route(s) I attempt depends somewhat on what kind of help I can line up and what races happen. The routes I’m considering in no particular order are A) NJ Appalachian Trail out and back (140 miles), B) Iowa state crossing (277 miles), C) Delaware and Raritan Canal Towpath (65 miles), D) Henry Hudson Trail out and back (52 miles), and E) Batona Trail out and back X 2 (212 miles). Which routes I go for all really depends on what race opportunities present themselves this year and what kind of crew help I can muster up. 


In addition, I have one other fitness assessment training goal this year: to take Dr. Kenneth Cooper’s 12 Minute Test of aerobic fitness. I stumbled onto this while thumbing through a bit of a dated (1978) Runner’s World training diary that my supervisor passed on to me. I think I should be able to reach the “Excellent” category for my age group, but I want to test it to make sure.



Lastly, and I wouldn’t say it’s really a goal but more of a plan, I intend to register for a few virtual races as well. I’ll mostly be using these as motivation to push through training runs while working towards my larger running goals. I already registered for my first virtual race, the Detroit Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k on 4/17/2021. If virtual races are your thing and you like chocolate, use code “BRHC20” when you register to receive a free running hat!




Scott Snell

January 6, 2021


Disclaimer: I received an entry the the Detroit Allstate Hot Chocolate 15k to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!






Wednesday, December 30, 2020

The Egg Nog Slog - 48 Ounces of Egg Nog Over the Course of a One Mile Sprint - What Could Go Wrong?




So Christmas 2020 was a little different than past ones. And why shouldn’t it have been, pretty much all of 2020 felt out of the ordinary thanks to COVID. This year we found ourselves at home rather than visiting family. Without the family visits that our normal holiday routine revolves around, I tried to do something a bit festive that all of our friends and family near and far could enjoy. I ran an egg nog mile. There was also still the question of whether I would enjoy it or not.

Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell prepping for an egg nog mile.
Southern Comfort Egg Nog!
 
I first heard of and thought about doing this in early December. I figured since COVID had forced me to cancel the Annual Fourth of July Hot Dog Run, this would be a fun event to fill the gap that was still vacant since the summer. I initially intended to just do a single serving (4 oz) per quarter mile. Then I started doing a bit of research, to determine how much egg nog one had to drink to run an egg nog mile. The first virtual egg nog mile event I found required participants to drink 1 pint (16 oz) of egg nog every quarter mile. When I saw this I backed off and decided that I did not want to chug a half gallon of egg nog while running a mile. But I did more research. I found a video of the egg nog mile world record which used the beer mile standard of 12 oz per quarter mile. Then I became aware of a virtual egg nog mile hosted by a NJ based group (Sassquad Trail Runners) that only required participants to consume 8 oz of egg nog per quarter mile. I concluded that the egg nog mile has not yet reached the widely accepted standardized level of the beer mile so whatever I chose to do wouldn’t be wrong. I opted to go with the 12 oz per quarter mile to remain consistent with the beer mile standard and to avoid chugging an entire half gallon of nog.

Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell drinking egg nog for an egg nog mile.
First glass down!

The anticipation for the run was a bit unnerving. Mentally I was preparing to eventually spew all of the egg nog back up at some point. The thought of which in itself unsettled my stomach. I’m not a huge egg nog fan to begin with, but I will have an occasional glass around Christmas. However, it’s usually a few servings for the entire month of December, not 12 servings chugged while running a mile. While preparing the morning of the event I was spending entirely too much time imagining what egg nog would taste like in projectile vomit form.

While combating this internal struggle, I set up the Facebook live stream so friends and family could watch in real time. Shortly after going live, the clock started and I chugged my first glass of egg nog. It went down quickly and didn’t upset my stomach. I made the quarter mile out and back on our street and grabbed my next glass. The second one was tougher to get down. Not because of stomach issues, it was just that I was breathing heavy from sprinting the quarter and was having trouble to down the thick egg nog while trying to catch my breath for the next run. My stomach still felt fine during the second quarter and I actually picked up the pace a little during that lap. The third glass took a little longer to drink and my stomach started feeling full while chugging it. It didn’t feel like it was upset, just full. I got it down and still managed to run my third quarter faster than my first. The last glass was the toughest to drink. At one point while trying to chug it I gagged a little and thought that I might barf. Thankfully I didn’t and was able to get it down and run my final lap.

Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell running an egg nog mile.
Focused on the time.

I felt the egg nog in my stomach the most during this final lap. It didn’t feel like I was going to lose it while running, but I could feel it just sloshing around in there. I finished in about 8:27 without any vomiting penalties (breakdown of time in table below). Once finished I began feeling the worst of it. I was having hot flashes and wondering if I was about to vomit at any moment as I pushed my kids on the swing in our front yard. It wasn’t pleasant, but it passed after a couple hours. By dinner time I was pretty much feeling back to normal.


The egg nog I drank contained 190 calories per serving. My 12 servings during the mile I ran delivered a whopping 2,280 calories into my system in less than 8.5 minutes. No wonder why I felt like I was going to vomit. Would I recommend others to try this? Yes! Would I do it again? Again, yes! But not until next Christmas and hopefully in person with more people.

Scott Snell
December 30, 2020


Time Breakdown:

Monday, December 21, 2020

2020 Goals Review


I’ve had the intention of beginning to write this 2020 running goals assessment blog for a week or two now. I’ve been thinking about it, but 2020 was anything but a typical year. How do I even attempt to objectively assess what progress I have made towards my goals when the very structure (organized races in this situation) pretty much ceased to exist. I’ve frequently heard this year described as a “dumpster fire” and I believe that many of the people using that term have good reason to do so. However, other than the cancelling of in person racing and virtual schooling for my children, I have skated by relatively unscathed by the major impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic. I never even ran out of toilet paper. And for this I am extremely grateful (the whole unscathed thing, I wouldn’t have been that upset about the TP thing; I poop in the woods). Even so, how easy it would have been to just quit on 2020 and not attempt any of my running goals! But I couldn’t have that. I reassessed, recalibrated, and adapted my goals to the new situation.

An effect of this process was my outlook on races and running. Without races, I had to test my beliefs about my true motivation to run. Had I been running to train for races or did I truly enjoy the process of training as I have preached? This idea and method of assessing my running goals developed for me this past weekend during my long run. I wasn’t sure how to approach this blog post and I wanted to run for a few hours so I figured I’d give it some thought while I run. It seems that I come up with more creative ideas and am better at problem solving while running. The ideas usually seem genius to me while running, but too often when I get back home they’ve lost their spark or I’ve completely forgotten them. During this past weekend’s long run I listened to music (something I don’t do regularly while running). A meaningwave song by Akira the Don with excerpts of audio of Jordan Peterson speaking about the value of music came on. While listening to it and running, I realized that what he was saying about music is what I feel about running: the “patterns” I find in a single run or over the course of months of runs with varying tempos, the emotional highs and lows, and the delivery of a feeling of transcendence when everything falls into place and is as it “should” be.

“I think the most accessible form for most people is music.

And music to me is the most representational form of art because I think that the world is made out of patterns.

And we perceive some patterns as objects but fundamentally it’s patterns and what you want is all the patterns of the world to interact harmoniously in something where every element is related intelligibly to every other element.

And I think that when your life is in harmony that you can feel that.

When you’re dancing to beautiful music you’re acting that out.

The music is the music of the spheres and you’re participating in the patterning of your being in accordance with that structure and that gives you an intimation of transcendence.”


---- Jordan Peterson ----


Based on my thoughts and feelings during this run, I don’t think my overall view of running changed, but the value I put on organized races may have been altered. It’s been over a year since I’ve done it, but I think I still love racing. Maybe not for the competition factor as much anymore, but maybe even more so than before for the fact that organized races provide us an opportunity to run some really cool trails in beautiful areas without having to put almost any work in on the logistics side of how to pull it off. 

So with that short introduction, or maybe it was a tangent, here’s my 2020 goals assessment....


2020 Goals:
  1. Run at least one 24 hour event (scratched)
  2. PR longest distance in a single run (>104.8 miles) (complete)
  3. Complete my "Run Every Single Street" of Egg Harbor Township project (progressed)
  4. Run at least one “last person standing” event (scratched)
  5. Volunteer at a local race with my son (altered)
With pretty much all running events cancelled (including the 24 hour race I was registered for), goals 1 and 4 were scratched from the list. I can’t very well run a race if races aren’t happening. I had intended to get my longest distance run accomplished at the 24 hour event that was cancelled. Even with races cancelled, this was something I could still complete. I did so by going after an FKT longer than any race I had ever run, the Batona trail out and back (about 106 miles). It wasn’t that much farther than what had been my longest distance (104.8 miles). I had hoped to increase that distance PR by more than just a mile or two, but an FKT had been on my “to do” list for a while and it would complete one of my goals. I would be able to at least check one goal off of my list and maybe still leave room to improve my distance PR next year.

Goal number 5 could have been scratched altogether for the same reason as goals 1 and 4, but I decided to alter it a bit and complete an adjusted goal. Rather than volunteering at a local race with my son as I had intended, we helped out with a couple organized clean ups along a multi use path that I run on occasionally. It wasn’t as much fun as I had expected volunteering at a trail race with my son would have been, but again I was forced to adapt to the situation. Rather than just give up and do nothing, I wanted to do something. I thought this was a good compromise that would still benefit the running community in my area. 

Last is goal number 3, to complete my “Run Every Single Street” of Egg Harbor Township project. This goal is the only one that was not impacted due to COVID-19 restrictions. Yet I still didn’t complete it. I’ve made quite a bit of progress as I am at almost 50% complete, but that’s only about the halfway point. Why didn’t I complete this one? The main reason is because of the self imposed rules or restrictions I have put on myself and the manner in which I intend to complete this project. When I started, I had planned to drive to starting points to run new streets once I surpassed the 25% complete threshold. Well, 25% came and went and I continued starting all of my runs to reach new streets from home. This of course adds lots of miles as I am “rerunning” the same roads to reach new roads. Is this the right way to do it? Is it the wrong way? I guess that’s part of what intrigued me with these every single street projects.The rules are up to you. Could I have finished by now if I had been driving to new starting points? Maybe. But I’d still like to see how close I can get to 100% before resorting to that option. 


So that was my running review of 2020. Definitely not the year I had hoped for, but I think that goes for everyone. I still got to run plenty of miles and achieved an FKT that I hadn’t even planned to go after so it’s not like it was all bad. I hope everyone else isn’t too disappointed with how their 2020 turned out and that they were able to find some silver linings somewhere along the way. Cheers to all, happy new year and here’s to hoping that all of your running dreams come true in 2021!



Scott Snell
December 21, 2020

Sunday, December 13, 2020

Reset: Mind and Body


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

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

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

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

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




Scott Snell                            

December 12, 2020  

Beast Coast Trail Running Scott Snell Every Single Street Progress







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!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Science In Sport Isotonic Gel Review - I Think I'm in Love!






"Disclaimer: I received SIS isotonic gels 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!"


Sometimes life is pretty cool. A prime example of life being pretty cool occurred recently. I was offered another opportunity to test and review additional flavors of Science in Sport (SIS) isotonic gels. During and since my initial trial and review of SIS gels, they have become my “go to” energy gel for endurance events and long training days so I was super pumped to try more flavors. This time around I received three flavors to try: salted strawberry, apple, and orange (75 mg caffeine). I was especially happy to see the caffeinated orange flavor in this round. I had previously tested the double espresso (150 mg caffeine) flavor which turned out to be one of my favorite flavors. However, the 150 mg of caffeine in every 90 calorie gel was a little too much caffeine for me if that was the only flavor I was using. Having the option to spread out the caffeine intake between gels was a very welcome choice.


During my first trial of SIS gels, I put them to the test at two last person standing events and was absolutely pleased with their taste, how well my body was able to process them, and the energy they provided. For this trial, I put them to the test again and used them as my primary calorie source for a 106 mile FKT attempt on the Batona Trail (22:46:42) in South Jersey. Once again, SIS gels delivered the sustained energy I needed for long strenuous effort. My energy levels never crashed with my steady stream of calories via the SIS gels.

Of the plethora of brands and flavors of gels I’ve tried over the years of running ultras and eating whatever brand of gel happens to be at the aid station, I’ve found that the flavor and consistency of SIS gels work better for me than any of others. Usually after a long ultra my teeth hurt and I am almost sick to my stomach of forcing down overly sweet gels with overpowering flavors. This doesn’t happen to me when I use SIS gels, even after 20-30 some hours of eating them on three occasions. The flavors are not artificial tasting like I find most other gels to be. The lighter consistency makes them easier and faster to consume than your standard syrupy gels which also means you don’t feel like you have to rinse your mouth out after eating them.


So what’s the deal with “isotonic”? Well, it’s the reason why SIS gels aren’t a syrupy gooey mess like the majority of other gels on the market. They are the first of their kind. To explain it in more detail, we have to review a little high school biology terminology:


Hypertonic: If a solution is hypertonic, it has a higher concentration than the fluid in the body. This means that water particles will have to be pulled from the cells into the gut to help it absorb and balance up this concentration. This slows down the availability of the energy from the gel and can bloat your stomach and be very uncomfortable.

Hypotonic: If a solution is hypotonic, it will have a lower concentration than the fluid in the body. This means that it will empty quickly from the stomach, but it will not contain much energy.

Isotonic: To be isotonic a solution must have the same concentration of dissolved particles as the fluid in the cells within the body, typically this means having a tonicity between 280-310 mmol/kg.
https://www.scienceinsport.com/us/sports-nutrition/?post_type=post&p=53


So what is the benefit of SIS gels having the same concentration of dissolved particles as the fluid in the cells in your body? 

  1. They provide a quicker supply of energy to the working muscles than thicker, more concentrated gels.
  2. They’re absorbed without needing additional water.
  3. They’re easily digestible and light on the stomach.

If you’ve never tried SIS gels, I highly recommend giving them a shot. If you decide to, be sure to use the discount code “BIBRAVE20GEL” for 20% off (not applicable to already discounted products or special offers.)

Also check out what other BibRave Pros thought of SIS gels!

https://bluegrassbamr.wordpress.com/2020/09/12/get-a-little-kick-with-science-in-sport-caffeineenergy-gels/


https://runningforbeers.wordpress.com/2020/09/20/4-reasons-to-take-science-in-sport-sis-energy-gels-on-your-next-long-run/


https://kimrunsonthefly.blogspot.com/2020/09/all-fueled-up-with-sis.html


https://retrorunningmom.com/2020/09/22/make-the-perfect-fuel-plan-with-science-in-sport-gels-sis/


https://www.heelstriker954.com/post/sis-science-in-sport-gel-review