These past couple of weeks, we’ve had several good dumps of snow in the Anchorage area. This has meant lots of long runs dragging my sled through deep snow. Aside from this being really hard work, I also quickly learned that I needed a cover for my sled before race day. My sled was taking on tons of snow, adding unnecessary weight and soaking my non-waterproof duffel bag. Something needed to be done – so I headed to Jo-Anns for some DIY supplies. I picked up some rip-stop nylon and a heavy-duty zipper.
The rip-stop nylon serves several purposes:
- As the name implies, it’s resistant to ripping or tearing, something I certainly don’t want happening during the race.
- It’s reasonably water resistant.
- It’s a slick material that actively sheds snow.
Continue reading “Adding a Cover to My Sled for Susitna 100”
Don’t let this happen to you!
These past few months, I’ve been running lots of miles outdoors in the cold while training for the Susitna 100 next month. These past few weeks it has been especially cold in the Anchorage area, and on race day, there is always the potential for it to get down to -20 to -30°F. Keeping your water from freezing when running for hours in these kinds of temperatures is a very important skill. I’m not going to last very long in a winter 100 miler if my water is frozen solid, and there are only aid stations every 15-20 miles.
Continue reading “How to Keep Your Water From Freezing When Running in the Winter”
This is my public service announcement, since so many seem to get the two confused.
A balaclava will help keep your face and neck warm when running in the cold.
Baklava may be a tasty dessert, but it won’t help keep you warm.
As part of my preparation for the Susitna 100 next month, I had to build a sled to haul my 15+ pounds of required gear. Much to my frustration, I had trouble finding much good information online on building a sled for winter running. I did find some decent information on building a pulk, but those are typically geared toward hikers and/or hunters pulling a much larger load, often travelling across unpacked snow. Some of the ideas are transferable, but many are not. I also spent a fair amount of time talking to other runners I know who have done this race, and asked them about how they built their sleds. I even went as far as scouring the intertubes for photos of runners pulling sleds, zooming in and gathering as much information as I could about their sled construction.
In the end, what I came up with was a pretty basic sled design. There are some people who get way more complicated with their sleds. Although their designs may be superior in some ways, my decisions on my sled design were guided by 2 principles:
- I wanted my sled to be as simple as possible, with the least likelihood of something breaking during the race.
- If something did break, what would be the easiest to repair out on the course?
Continue reading “Building My Sled for the Susitna 100”
For several years now, I’ve considered running the Susitna 100, but had just never taken that leap. Running a 100 miler in the middle of winter is a whole different beast than running one in the summer. There’s already plenty of things that can go wrong during a “normal” 100 miler – running one in the middle of the Alaskan winter adds even more to that list.
Well, this year I finally committed and signed up. Like many winter races in Alaska, you can choose to either run, bike or ski this event. There is also a 50k that I ran 2 years ago.
Continue reading “Preparing for the Susitna 100”