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How to Get Stinkin' Dirty & Wet While Running

Tom, It's time for the big race which means it is again for some useless advice.  Tom

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 Dscn2722 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 greatlyDscn2736  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 arDscn1214e 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! 


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Bill Carter

Amy you should be in sales and not HR. I am totally sold on this race and would do it in a second if you guys weren't so far away. Actually forget I said that... this is not a race, it sounds like one big party. Much better to take your time and enjoy the sites at this one. I honestly can't wait to see your pictures from this one.
Best of luck to both you and Tom.


This sounds like one fun race. Can't wait to check out the pictures. Good luck Amy and Tom!

Kent "Bowulf"

Can you believe it? It is only T-minus 5 days to race time. I wonder if they will be doing a Ryan Shay's memorial 5.5 mile marker in the race. I really need to get my shirt ready today. So looking forward to this day of fun...


I'm with Bill on this one. That sounds like so much fun. Will you still love me if I tell you I wear spandex/coolmax or some sort of compression at EVERY run?


I'll be at the race too! My brother will be running and I'll be my wonderful injured, spectating self. Hopefully we can connect.

This post is hilarious. I will have my brother read it. He needs all the help he can get!

Tom's shirt should say 'LHF Virgin' on the back so everyone can read it.


Okay, I am now totally excited about this race. Plus, as a bonus, Tom and I can lose our (LHF) virginity together!


My son (Runners' Lounge name Randal79) and daughter in law will be at LHF. This will be (I think) their third one. They keep going back so they have an excuse to buy new running shoes for the next year. I'll remind him to look for your car/beer wagon.


This sounds like a great race- I'd do it in a heartbeat!

Looking forward to the report.


Amy, I can't say I haven't been warned. I'm taking all your tips and will be ready for a fun, wild time, minus the Spandex.

Laurie, we wish you could be in the mix of the chaos. Betsy, hope to see Jack and Steve there. Nat, the Coolmax and Spandex seems right to wear when we put it on--until the wrong person sees us in it.

Thanks for the encouragement and the enthusiasm. I'm super excited!

Sarah Elendt (punkybrewster)

I'll admit it...I'm a virgin too and can't wait to have some fun...and beer. I heard a recent study that it re-hydrates runners faster than water...I'm a science lover so I've got to partake in this!

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This is the one we did, isn't it??? It's one of my all time favorite runs.

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This sounds like one fun race. Can't wait to check out the pictures. Good luck Amy and Tom!

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