Monday, January 16, 2012


This weeks long run served as recon and gear check for the now 3 weeks out John Dick memorial 50k.  I always like to check out a course ahead of time but this run was more about the conditions.  Just a couple days earlier six inches of snow fell making the sunny freezing weekend perfect for cross country skiing and other winter sports.  The Scuppernong trails where the race will be held were closed for cross country skiing so I went to the nearby John Muir mountain bike trails for a taste of trail running on packed snow.
Dogs love winter trail running.  With the proper gear I was quite comfortable.
The experience was good.  I had on a minimalist trail glove and it was perfect for the very plush snow.  I could have used a bit more traction and will likely pick up some yaktrax.  My wife wore a full cushioned trainer and was miserable with her foot sliding around in the shoe too much.  Pacing was slowed by over a minute to deal with conditions.  Actual race conditions should be better as the singletrack mountain bike trails represented worst case with a lot of twisting and winding.
The love of my life navigating the majestic winter landscape
After five miles on the trails we went back home where I rounded out the long run with seventeen more miles along the lake with four of them true off road and the rest on packed snow along the paved path.  The Gatorade in the tube of my Camelbak started to get slushy and freeze about an hour in.  The liquid in the pack was more resistant to freezing but eventually froze by the third hour.  Come race day I may need to add a shot or two of vodka to mitigate this issue.
Snow packed Oak Leaf trail
Other than the couple issues mentioned the 22 miles went very well.  My legs had not recovered from a brutal strength training session two days prior and the run was very low intensity accordingly.  Breathing was easy and I enjoyed the many sights and wildlife.  Winter is a great time to be outside and with the right gear it is very comfortable.
This beard is priceless in the cold.  



  1. Poor pooch with its little icy beard. Nah - way too much fun to worry about a little drool freezing. Curious what "all the right gear" is. I'm still having a heckuva time figuring out what to wear most days. Of course, it doesn't help that it was nearly 70° today and the high for tomorrow is 30°.

  2. My guess is he was eating snow to achieve that frosty muzzle. I plan to do a post on what gear works for me shortly. It is a nuanced topic for sure and specific to the individual. The right gear changes with temperature, wind, etc... On long runs my Camelbak has warmer gear in it if needed and I can always store things if I overdress.

    I can say in freezing temps I always grab the North Face better than naked jacket and Brooks equillibrium utopia thermal pant. I am sure any brand of similar thermal pant or light weight jacket would suffice. Underneath that is some combination of layers and maybe compression sleeves from fall and summer clothing.