Cold Weather Marathon? Why a trash bag won’t do the trick.

Veterans – feel free to offer your ideas and suggestions. 

It just took me forever to write this. 

Outlook crashed after you learn to be a warrior so I had to start over.

I do not have the energy to proof read – have fun with this.

I know everyone will learn something.  Like, how can a lady go in a urinal or a Gatorade bottle just like the boys? What is in this very long but worth the read email: 

  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 0, Be Prepared.  Watch for updates from the race
  2. SORRY – A TRASH BAG IS NOT GOING TO DO THE TRICK.
  3. You can do this, and you can make it FUN. Are you gathering berries?  OR ARE YOU A WARRIOR?
  4. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 1, Be Prepared.  Be over prepared
  5. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 2, Break it down into reality. THIS IS NOT A BEAUTY CONTEST
  6. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 3, Break it down into reality. You had to go to Good Will anyway….
  7. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 4, Break it down into reality. You know how to run in the cold already
  8. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 5, Break it down into reality.  So maybe it is a LITTLE colder than you are experienced with
  9. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 6, Break it down into reality.  Do you think you won’t have to pee?

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  1. Watch for updates from the race

Frankly – I’m very surprised if the race just pretends this is not an issue.  A statement must come out. I don’t expect them to have a solution, but at least a stern warning and suggestions/comments on safety.  (Maybe they have, but I’ve not seen it).

  • At 6 am tomorrow, it will be 24 degrees, sustained winds near 20 with gusts to 25.  Real feel will be 12 degrees. 
  • At 8 pm tonight, it will be 32 with winds sustained in the 20’s and gusts to 40 mph.  Real feel will be 24/25 degrees.

 Sounds like 8pm tonight is a good time to practice your strategy to me.

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  1. SORRY – A TRASH BAG IS NOT GOING TO DO THE TRICK.

What Kyla et al are really asking about is, “How am I going to survive getting from my car to the race start and being stuck in my coral, for potentially up 2 or more hours.  I’ve run in cold weather, but I assume standing around 12 degree temps with wind for hours on end might be a different subject all together”.

And she is right to be focusing on this. Your head is not in the game if a plan is not in play….

This weather AND your situation is the real deal.

  • Race strategy for clothing is one thing (trash bag is in the mix here).
  • But strategy for walking slowly (from parking to race start) and standing around doing nothing for 1-2 or more hours in 12-degree weather (with wind – which is worse) is something to be taken more seriously.

Good thing everyone has a trash bag! Those with Hefty bags are going to crush others who only have garden variety kitchen bags”

Yes, that was smart ass.  But you are talking to a guy that has (for 10 years) made a living out of standing around in one spot in weather like this while watching people run in circles.  Granted – I’m a cold wimp.  But I can guarantee you that even the toughest of you will find that running gear and a trash bag are not going to help you conquer the hours pre-race when you are not generating your own heat.

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  1. You can do this, and you can make it FUN. Are you gathering berries?  OR ARE YOU A WARRIOR?

Guys, it’s time to “Get busy TRI-ing…. or get busy Crying.”

First, since we are one huge family we are going to do everything we can to support each other. That includes bringing our positive outlook and energy – and leaving the negative at home!   As racers, spectators, teammates, and friends: As of right now we are committing that we will smile from sun up to sun down.  We are going to start talking about how awesome this race is going to be.  The extra challenges make it more inspiring and exciting!

Those of us spectating will be able to say “I was there.”  “Man those guys were studs. I had a blast out there supporting them!”.

Those of you participating are lucky.  You are going to be able to talk about this for years to come.  Those of you racing will say

“That was one of the coolest experiences of my life.  Man – everyone else was freezing.  It was like DC before heat and clothes were invented.  People around me were acting like they were Neanderthals – I heard one say that he had to go out and kill another wildebeest so he could hang a new pelt in his cave’s closet for days just like this.  He was bitching about how he could not remember a colder race, including that torture fest that was the Rocks-to-Iceflow-5k back in 350,000 BC.  So many people were unprepared and they paid the price.  Me? I was a rock.  I had a plan, I executed it.  I took the bull by the horns and I showed mother nature that she only added to the sense of accomplishment by throwing these pathetic weather conditions my way.  I crushed it.  ‘They’ were prepared to gather berries.  I was prepared to hunt for the kill. I was a fricking WARRIOR. 

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 1, Get Your Mind Right

To become Warriors, we will do everything we can to be prepared (and be prepared to support each other).  Here are some of my suggestions to help you deal with the less than ideal race conditions.  Some of you think I’m crazy, maybe even a wus.  But those of you who follow these ideas (or ideas that others share with us) will be lusted after as you sit around smiling and laughing as you are in your corral before the race starts.  This positive attitude will, of course, translate to your experience during the race itself.

Your memories will reflect AWSOMNESS.  Your fiends will say “That sucked”.  You will say “Really?  That was the coolest race of my entire life!” 

To get your mind right, do the following:

  • If you want to pout about it, let’s do it NOW.  Ok, feel better?
  • Accept the fact that it will be windy, dark, and overcast
  • Stop worrying about what you can’t control.
  • Focus on what you can control to win in this situation
  • Repeat the following saying RIGHT NOW.  Continue to repeat this phrase until you believe what you are telling yourself.

“Having accepted that is going to be dark, windy, and colder than hell… I have made a conscious decision to be positive from this point forward.  I will wake up pumped.  I will wake up smiling.  I will wake up ready to CRUSH this day and not let the weather make md do otherwise.  When I hear people complaining around me…I will smile and laugh inwardly. I ‘ll be so damn happy because I know my teammates and I are all relishing this experience BUCAUSE WE ARE PREPARED AND WARM AS A BUG INA RUG.”

To accomplish this, you will need to consider your individual concerns for the weather and build a plan to defeat them.  Accept that this is an AWEOSME OPORTUNITY to learn how to race in less than ideal conditions – and leverage what you learn for the future.

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 1, Be Prepared.  Be over prepared

 Spend a few dollars (or sacrifice a few things) to make this experience something you will look forward to. You have invested enough of yourself in $$ and training that a little bit extra is worth it. Some of my favorite tricks for racing in the chilly weather are below.

Remember that Pre-Race is your biggest issue. You can rely on your body heat and experience training in the cold to get you through the race.  Lets talk about pre-race – and then take anything you learn with you on to the run itself if you choose.

First, Wind is your enemy – you must defeat it.  If you can beat the wind and keep your head, hands, and feet warm pre-race…. then when the gun goes off your body warmth will do the job and you will rock your day.

Pre-Race. Wear your cold weather race gear to the race. If you don’t have a good cold weather running pant or jacket (which usually can also be used for riding)- go to REI (or other) and buy some tonight/today. Or borrow some from your friends.  If you buy them you will use these for years.

Additional items Pre-Race – your goal is to be EXTRA WARM!  Your body uses a ton of energy trying to generate heat (that is calories folks). IF you do the work, the body will save those calories.

What you could bring:

  1. Ski Hat
  2. Gloves
  3. BOOTS
  4. Thick socks
  5. Four wind layers (down, flannel, anything you can find)
  6. Bring extra pairs of hand and foot warmers
  7. When you think you have enough, bring MORE for back up.
  8. Leave it all at the start line when you are ready to race.  Take with you only what you think you will need.

Simple, right?

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 2, Break it down into reality. THIS IS NOT A BEAUTY CONTEST

 How do you carry it from the car and all morning before the race?  How can you do these things without wasting money or throwing away your favorite gear?

  1. Head: An old pair of sweat pants you’ve not worn in a year.  Cut off the legs and tie them in a knot. This is a ski hat.  Anything you can wear on your head that you don’t mind trashing.  Something that will fit under a hoodie
  2. Face – a scarf, tshirt, towel wrapped around your head. I don’t care, bring it.
  3. Hands: Gloves.  Duh.  Your running gloves are for racing – keep those in your pocket (or on).  Old wool socks with a hole in them.  4 pairs of those old cotton socks you have not worn in two years.  1 sock. Then a plastic grocery bag (wind), then another sock to hold it in place. Rubber band over your wrist if needed to keep it all together.  Don’t forget to stuff TWO pairs of hand warmers in each glove.  This is about comfort and no stress, not about an extra .50 you don’t want to waste.
  4. Boots.  Maybe harder – but most of you probably have old one’s you have been meaning to donate to good will anyway.  Carry your running shoes with you and wear the boots and massive socks (or multiple layers of socks) before the race.  No boots?  You are a size 10 shoe.  Buy the $5 slippers at Kmart.  Anything with a bottom to them.  2 pairs of old crappy socks with a trash bag stuffed between (wind, helps keep heat in).  Put a toe warmer below and above your feet. Then the slippers.  The ideas are endless. Really over the top?  Wear your running shoes to walk to the corral or race start – then put on your contraption until the last few minutes.
  5. Outer layers – I’d put $100 on the act that you have at least 10 items of torso gear that you have not worn in years or are ready to donate.  Bam.  Wear all of those and THEN put the trash bag on (wind, heat in).  Get a body warmer (same thing as hand warmers, sold at REI etc).
  6. Hoodie – SOMEWHERE IN THERE IF YOU CAN HAVE A HOODIE THEY ARE HUGE!  Keeping that warmth in from your body to your head.  Defeating the wind…hoodies are magic.

EXTRA STUFF:

  1. Bring it just in case. I’m serious.
  2. Extra hand warmers or foot warmers (foot warmer will stick where you put them). Do you end up cold in your neck? Stick one on your neck. Your thighs are getting bitten by the wind somehow? Stick a foot warmer inside your layers on your leg.
  3. Extra trash bags or ziplocs or newspaper.  Putting these anywhere will help.  Newspaper inyour torso – its like the best under layer possible.  There is a reason the Pro Riders stuff a paper in their jersey as they descend the high mountains.

HOW DO YOU CARRY IT ALL?

  1. 5-gallon bucket and a trash bag.  Make sure there is an extra towel or a crappy old pillow that needs to see the trash (couch pillow, whatever).
  2. When you get to the race and have to “sit around”. The things in the bucket are in a bag.  Even more stuff is in another trash/hefty bag slung over your shoulder.  Flip the bucket over and put the pillow/towel on it and you have a seat.  Everyone else is standing for an hour.  Why you?

YOU DON’T HAVE ANY OF THESE THINGS?

  1. Five-gallon bucket is at home depot or lowes.
  2. You don’t have these things you don’t want to use?  ASK YOUR FRIENDS OR FAMILY – $1,000 says you can set yourself up sweet without spending anything

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 3, Break it down into reality. You had to go to Good Will anyway….

Straight forward.  Dump your closet and or dresser.  Take a bag full of things light enough to carry.  What you do not use, you can share with people around you will worship you and talk about you for the rest of your life.  Anything you leave behind at the race start will go to charity anyway.

Lay it all in a pile on the ground and snuggle in it.  I don’t care.  You will be the envy of your Corral.

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 4, Break it down into reality. You know how to run in the cold already

Don’t do anything different than you have in the past.  Don’t wear some new fancy underwear that has wind stop in the front (these are real).  Don’t make that mistake! Stick with what you know.

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 5, Break it down into reality.  So maybe it is a LITTLE colder than you are experienced with

Don’t do anything different than you have in the past.  Don’t wear some new fancy underwear that has wind stop in the front (these are real).  Don’t make that mistake! Stick with what you know.  Except maybe:

  1. Carry an extra pair of thin socks in your jacket.
  2. Carry 3 extra sets of hand warmers or foot warmers in your jacket
  3. Wear the trash bag from pre-race to help you during the race.  Take it off if warm, put it back on if getting cold.
  4. Keep the layers of socks on your hands.  Remove them until you don’t need them, but try not to throw them away if you can carry them.
  5. Duct Tape over your shoes (keep air out of those vents that are actually designed to funnel air IN (to keep your foot cool and dry in the summer))

These are all just ideas.  You must do what is right for you.  If you can swing it – the psychology of having these things is amazing.  Even just “knowing that they are there” in case you need them is super powerful.

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  1. How to become a WARRIOR: Step 6, Break it down into reality.  Do you think you won’t have to pee? 

Being in the cold will make this worse, trust me.  Read up on it.  This is no secret.  So what are YOU going to do?  Your plan.  Hold it if you want.  But peeing when you need to (especially before the race) is an awesome feeling.

Ideas.  Not saying they are legal or not embarrassing.  Not saying you should do them if you don’t want.  Not suggesting that you do any of them.  Just saying…

  1.  I’ve seen 1,000 people pee in public at a race start like this.
  2. Boys (see also girls below) – bring a Gatorade jug (anything with a wider top and a screw lid). TAPE IT UP IN ADVANCE SO YOU CAN’T SEE IN IT. That’s good for you and the people around you.  Witnessing the “act” is different than experiencing the product.  Hit the trash can on your way out.  Get it full?  Your call.  Hide around the corner of a building. Cover yourself with a towel, hide behind friends.  Just ideas.
  3. Ladies.  You go girlSami fresh.   Travel John  I have looked quickly – you can find these in stock at REI, Toys are us (think kids and road trips), and Target.  Ladies – don’t forget the Gatorade bottle.

Guys – you can use the lady’s products too…just think about it.  Don’t even have to move, just stand there behind a buddy.  Find the trash.