I had great plans to get up before class this morning and write something worthwhile, but the hotel bed was particularly soft and warm, so I stayed curled up under the comforter. I’m teaching a neat group of students who volunteer to do trail building and maintenance, and habitat restoration. Seems like I should start off the day with a chain saw accident.
So here are some things I learned at TNF race for you.
1. If your arm sleeves don’t stay up because you don’t have any arm muscles, turn them upside down. The skinny lower arm part was just the right size for my scrawny upper arm and it stayed put for the whole race. And I felt very fashionable in flared sleeves. You might think I should have figured this out before the race, (never use new gear during a race), but I’ve never needed arm sleeves before. They’re not a necessary piece of gear in San Antonio, — but they seemed like just the right thing for the weather in Marin. A generous friend gave me a gift certificate, so I got a pair. And, I have to say, they were awesome — especially upside down. Tell all your scrawny friends.
2. I really liked wearing the New Balance MT101’s during the race. (My parents gave me a pair. Thanks mom and dad.) I felt like they did a really good job shedding the mud on the trail. I guess you could argue that they didn’t give as much traction as another shoe would have. I haven’t worn that many different trail shoes (two), so it’s hard for me to say. I just felt fortunate to have light feet through all that mud. That said, I don’t know that I would have wanted to run another fifty miles without a bit more cushioning.
3. Nutrition products that work for one person, don’t necessarily work for someone else — even if you really really want them to.
4. Running fast downhill on fire roads or roads is quite a skill. I ran along with a nice fellow for quite a while at the end of the race and he dropped me like a hot potato every time we hit a long, steep, smooth downhill. And running down smooth, steep trails is a different skill than running fast down technical trails. Right, it seems obvious. I was just surprised at how much faster the folks I was running with ran down the hills than I did — or could. I mean, it’s obvious that technical downhill running requires practice, but I didn’t know how good you could get at running down roads. Hey, I’m new to all this.
5. Always check to see that your finish has been recorded before you leave a race site. (DNF Day 3: Still no word from North Face.) (Update: Everything is cleared up now and I’m official. Thanks North Face folks.)
I’ve got to get some paperwork down now. I’ll save thank yous and the details of the chain saw scenario until tomorrow.