25 February 2013

2013 LBL Challenge 18hr AR Details

Hey! Have you seen my new Schedule, Results, Reports page? I combined a few older pages to put everything in one spot. You can check out where I'll be in 2013, as well as read previous race reports and AR tips posts. I'm still working on filling in information for the older races, but most of the links are accurate.

In transition at CP A. Photo by Suzanna Renner.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again...the main reason I started this blog was to help raise the profile of adventure racing. When I did my first race in 2009, I scoured the interwebz for information and only found a few sites with useful information. So when I write race reports, I also like to do a follow-up with some lessons learned for anyone who's interested. Here are some thoughts from the 2013 LBL Challenge.

I really wanted to do this race with my 10L pack/vest. It's small, light, and has tons of pockets for snacks. I pinned my number on it Friday night and started stuffing it with everything I would need for the race. Everything fit (since I wasn't carrying any team gear) but it was a tight squeeze. I talked things over with Doug and he agreed to carry shoes or anything else I had extra during the race. Thanks, teammate! But, the more I looked at the tightly-packed vest, the most I started second-guessing myself, and finally made an eleventh-hour switch back to my normal AR pack, a 24L GoLite that evidently isn't in production anymore. This was the right decision. The extra roominess of my 24L pack helped speed up our TAs because I could take care of my own gear, including shoes. The boys were already carrying enough extra stuff (paddles and team mandatory gear) and I was pleased to be just a little self-sufficient.
The boys' packs are much larger than mine.
I have been training lately in an Alpine Shop favorite, the Brooks Cascadia trail shoe. This shoe is a little less aggressive than the Salomon Speedcrosses I wore at the SHITR, but still plenty of tread and a really supportive last for the longer races. I brought both pairs of shoes with me to LBL and, much like the pack situation, found myself staring at them on Friday night unable to make a decision. The Speedcrosses were great over shorter, on-trail distances but I was concerned that longer off-trail treks might hurt my feet. But, I didn't have any frame of reference for the Cascadias since my longest run in them had been 90ish minutes. I eventually solved the dilemma by using visualization. I took a few quiet moments to picture myself running through the woods on the way to a CP with my teammates. I visualized the terrain and then pressed pause to "look" down at my feet. They were wearing the Speedcrosses. So that's what I raced in and they were excellent.
Speedcrosses tucked safely in my pack. Photo from CP B, the canoe take-out.

I usually target 250 calories/hour when packing for ARs, but end up eating only 175-200 cal/hr. Not at LBL - I ate almost everything I brought. This was a combination of Probars, Snickers (regular and peanut butter), peanut butter crackers, Nutter Butters, Oreos, CarboRocket, EFS Liquid Shot, Clif and Honey Stinger gels, beef jerky, turkey and cheese sandwiches, Coke, and Honey Stinger protein bars. As you can see I favor variety. I shared a lot of this food with my teammates, and they shared stuff with me (nutty bars, yogurt-covered pretzels, sour cherry balls, Reese's crunchy bars, etc). I think it's important to offer your food to your teammates because it reminds everyone to keep eating, especially the navigator who is often more preoccupied with the map than food. And, sometimes the best food is the stuff you didn't even bring.
Pre-race shopping binge.
OK that's it for LBL! If you have questions or suggestions for other race info, just leave a comment! Pin It


  1. GoLite's my go-to for most of my running/hiking gear. It very much helps that they're based in Boulder and have a store down the block from my office.

    As for the Cascadia: designed by Scott Jurek. Bound to be a solid shoe for longer distances.

    I'm not sure if you've tried Ultimate Direction, but they're an excellent company for hydration and fastpacking (which seems like it might have some crossover with AR needs).

    That's my two cents, from a runner's perspective.

    1. Thanks Jamie! Love GoLite. I am jealous they are right down the street!! I checked the UD packs and they are sweet. a little small for the 18+hr races still but totally awesome for 8 and 12hr stuff. Since LBL I wore the Cascadias on a 5hr orienteering race and they were awesome. So now the decision is even harder!!

  2. Alright, I have a request for a blog post. You've now raced with two of the best teams in the Midwest. I'd love to know some details of how they navigate as a team. For instance, I'm the navigator for my team and I usually stare at the map walking through the woods. My teammates usually go brain dead while I'm trying to figure out where to go. How do the best teams keep everyone involved during this, and use the "team" to help get through tough navigation? Does everyone have a task during navigation?

    1. Awesome question!!! I might have to get some approvals before posting my unabridged thoughts, but here's the clif notes version: #1: primary navigator on both teams is an extremely accomplished orienteer #2: teammates on both teams help with distance/pace counting #3: both teams discuss route choices as a group and pick the approach best for the team at the time (i.e. more road/trail if people feel badly, more off-road/climb if people feel good) #4: both teams support the navigator 100%