A few weeks ago I joined the online group for my local trail running club because I decided that once I get back into training (starting tomorrow as a matter of fact!) I’d like to mix up my normal street runs with some trails. I have always loved the North Face ad that stares at me from my running magazines and challenges me to “run my self-doubt into the ground.” I have a couple friends who are big into adventure racing and one that is now training for a fall Half Ironman because the JFK 50-miler just wasn’t brutal enough for him. I’ve been intrigued by his photos on Facebook–he’s dirty, sweaty, trekking through mud, in one there are icicles on his eyelashes, but his number is securely pinned to the front of his gear and he simply looks like a badass. And he loves the race.
I know little about adventure racing and perhaps that’s why I want to try it. What better way to learn than by doing? I also had the chance to meet Jim Harman who owns EX2 Adventures which puts on a range of stellar endurance, triathlon, mountain biking, trail running, team, and relay events in my local area. He absolutely lives for adventure and his enthusiasm for it is contagious. So contagious in fact that now I’m going to be heading to Rocky Gap at the end of this month for the 4th annual Greenhorn Adventure Race, though I’ll be doing the new beginner course.
The course is trail running, mountain/trail biking, canoeing, and mountaineering. I’ll have a teammate and hopefully we’ll both agree to just have fun and try our hardest. I’ll get in what training I can in the next two weeks, but my list of questions as a newbie to this is long. If you are a veteran out there, any advice you have is more than welcomed. And if you’re new like me, I’d love to hear how you got started, what you’ve learned, what works, and what doesn’t. Here’s some of what I’m wondering:
- Can I wear my regular road running Nike shoes for the run? And for the whole thing for that matter? (I’m guessing not, but can’t hurt to ask!)
- Should I be concerned with getting scratched in the woods or consumed in poison ivy or….meaning should I wear all long-sleeves and pants or can I wear my standard running/biking gear? Do I need one set of gear for the whole thing or should I plan to layer or change somewhere along the way?
- I have a Gary Fisher 2003 mountain bike; I’ll do what I can to get it tuned up but–should my tires be super inflated or have a little bit of give in them? How likely am I to bust a tire on a beginner course? How common is it to need a new chain?
- What is the best way to carry fluids? I have a fuel belt and a small Camelback and my Gracie’s Gear with pouches. For what will be a 2-4 hour course, I’m going to need fluids! But what about Gus or other snacks? Do you take these?
What else should I be asking??