How to Get Stinkin' Dirty & Wet While Running
You have been such a good sport in listening to my Running Fashion Tips and Advice to Run a Marathon, that I thought a third time just might change your life. Sit back, my student, for a quick course on how to successfully run North America's largest and best Cross Country Race - Living History Farms Run - this Saturday.
You see readers after all these years running and living in Des Moines, this is Tom's first time running the Granddaddy of all races for us average, ordinary, slightly crazy runners. Yes, he is 48 and still a (LHF) virgin.
Tom, here are a few tips to get you to and through the race. I will look to my other veteran LHF races to pass along tips to - but these should get you started:
- Parking Ugly/Carpooling Fashionable. The race is at 9:00, but I would be there by 8:00 or 8:15 - traffic gets so crazy. If you leave your house after 8:00, you would be better served to just starting running - you will get to the start line sooner. That would be a little warmup for you, right? But on a fashionable note, in past years, the carpooling scored you free gloves!
- Gloves Are a Must - No matter the weather, gloves are a "can't race without" piece of running gear. Not something fashionable or light - but something sturdy that can get a good grip on a tree, a rock, a rope, a fence or the side of a hill. My favorites are the kind can pick up at Menards or a farm store - rubber on the grippy parts and a relative heavy weight. The other reason they need to be thick is to cushion against the help-your-fellow-runner-with-a-boost-to-the-booty as they climb out of creeks or over fences. I know you are helpful person so definitely bring along an extra layer of protection to be ready to handle the butt of a complete stranger.
- Shoes. Bid a fine farewell to the pair you will wear because this will sink them for good. You can look at this as a great excuse to buy a new pair of shoes because you will see a change in your rotation forever. This race benefits many great causes - but I have a sneaky suspicion that our favorite running shoe store and the mass shoe makers also love this race. There must be a spike in the purchase of new shoes a few weeks after this race. And don't forget to cinch up those buggars - many a runner has lost a shoe in the creek bed - and its really not good for the fish.
- Wear a little spandex or something that won't droop. I know, I know...I greatly discouraged the use of spandex in my Running Fashion Tips post before - but it has some useful benefits for this race. By about the 6th creek you wade through you will be wet - especially your pants. I have been mooned by about every type, age, and build of runner over the last few years. They wear some old sweat pants...sweat pants get wet and heavy...rear view runners get full view. My advice you ask? Spandex goes underneath an old pair of running pants. I like you, but there are some things that friends shouldn't see - and I guarantee I will be pulling up the rear.
- Balance, strength, strong ankles and dexterity. I would suggest bringing all these great assets of yours to the starting line. The first few miles has us running across the fields and into a omnipresent headwind which required some strong ankles and lifting those knees. Then you need a bunch of balance as you climb in and out the 8 creeks, rocky paths and steep embankments with 5000 other runners. Hope you have been practicin' your moves with your slip n slide - because the other side of each creek is the equivalent of a bunch of silly grownup's playing slip n' slide in the mud.
- Donuts & Beer. For reasons still unknown to me, the donuts and apple cidar at the end of this race are the best I have ever had. By the time I finish, 4999 runners have picked over the best, sneezed and dropped mud on the rest - but they are still so good. It doesn't matter that the cold weather usually chills them into hard lumps of greasy dough with sugared glaze - they are so worth the effort. I am sure that there is an easier way to grab donuts on a Saturday morning, but this is the most fun way I know. And for the beer...you know what my car looks like...the beer will be there as a reward. All Loungers are welcome to stop by for a cold one!
And don't you worry - I will be there with my handy, dandy camera to catch the action. There may be some virgin photo opportunties in your future. And the best part, so many of our new and old friends will be there to run with us like: Kirk, Kent, Betsy, Art, Mary, Sarah, Jim, Brett, Dan, Mona, Mike, PinkRogers, Stephanie, Tina, Wendy, and Angela . (I am sure there are more that I am forgetting - so if you are reading this and will be there - let me know - it will be fun to connect.)
It is going to be so much fun, I can barely wait for the big day. LHF pro's, don't forget to drop off your advice for Tom. And if anyone has any great sayings for a Tshirt - let me know. I am not the costume type but not above making a new Tshirt.
See you there!