serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Posts Tagged ‘mud’

Dances with Dirt Trail Race – Gnaw Bone

Tuesday, April 27th, 2010

dances-with-dirt-gnaw-bones-trail-raceWeak, wimpy, treadmill running pansies who don’t want mud on their shorts can stop reading now.  Trail Running lovers who enjoy being scratched, muddied, and bruised, stay here because we have the Trail Race for you, Dances with Dirt Gnaw Bone Trail Race on May 15th!  Expect to get to the edge where life is in full color.  Expect a day that makes you realize you are fully alive, awake and crackin’ on all cylinders.  Expect insanity, stupidity, and nirvana (or those things at higher than your normal levels)! 

Dances with Dirt is a series of four ultra/marathons/relay trail running events that will test your mettle no matter what age or fitness level you are.

dances-with-dirt-gnaw-bones-trail-race-2The second race of the Dances with Dirt series, Gnaw Bone takes place in Nashville, Indiana on May 15th.  No matter what distance pushes you to the limit, they have it for you with a 50 mile, 50K, marathon, half-marathon, and 50 mile relay.  You can start the 50 mile ultra at 5:30 AM but you better bring a headlamp because you will be running in the dark.  Is there a better sunrise than one you see at mile 4 of a 50 mile run?  If you don’t own a headlamp there will be another start at 6:15 AM for the 50 mile race.  The 50K and marathon start at 7:00 AM with the half-marathon bringing up the rear starting at 9:00 AM.

From comments and suggestions, Dances with Dirt races have polished this gem of a race course to make it more exciting, fun, and challenging.  The race surface consists of mud, rocks, and river crossings.  The trail is not maintained in certain areas but is well marked with signs that say “Wrong Way dances-with-dirt-gnaw-bones-trail-race-finishMoron.”  Is it the right way if you are not a moron?  I don’t know, but I wouldn’t recommend trying it.  You won’t get swept down any river rapids.  There are some hills but supplemental oxygen isn’t needed.  Overall it is a great run in a beautiful environment…with some stupid spots.  Perfect for runners of all abilities looking for a fun challenge!  Check out the course map if you don’t value the element of surprise.  After the race, celebrate your accomplishment and stick around to pig out with your fellow extreme runners eating a couple of roasted pigs, pizza, and beer (cash bar)!

You don’t have to take my word for it though.  See what the Head Goat Randy Step has to say about this spectacularly good time event.  Yes, he knows he looks like Maury Povich.

Tips for Trail Running in the Mud

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

I love the slop.  It’s in my bloodlines.  My fadda was a mudda’.  My mudda was a mudda’.  Whether it’s in your bloodlines or not, you still have to run through it.  Here are some tips for trail running and racing in the mud:


Courtesy of Defiant Photography Atlanta

Judge Consistency:  Mud can have many different consistencies; varying from step to step.  Watch where you are landing and judge how thick the mud is.  A good rule of thumb:  the softer the mud, the softer your step.  Tread lightly on soft mud and push off harder when on more solid mud.

Balance Like An Eagle: Mud can be slippery.  Make sure you maintain your balance, especially on sharp curves during a trail run.  When running quickly on a muddy surface extend your elbows parallel to the ground to keep your balance, like an eagle spreading her wings.  Don’t run too fast, you are not cleared for take off.  The pattern is full Maverick.

Pump Your Knees: You don’t want to get stuck in the mud.  Pump your knees toward your chest so you don’t get bogged down.  You have too many other things bogging you down in life.  The less time mud is bogging you down in a trail run the better.  Unless you live in a very rural area where mud bogging is the only available entertainment.  In that case, mud bog on.

Don’t Draft: If you are running a race and like to draft off of other runners you may want to reconsider when trail running in the mud.  The mud sticks to the bottom of your shoes, then is thrown off with each step.  Some trail running shoes hold more mud in their traction than others.  Find a pair that whisks away the mud so you aren’t carrying the extra weight on your trail race.  Don’t follow too closely to another runner unless you want a bunch of mud whisked in your face.  On the same token, if you don’t want other runners to draft off of you then over-kick your legs at the end of your stride.  They’ll fall back for sure.

On Your Tippy Toes: You want to run on the balls of your feet in the mud so you will take smaller steps.  Make sure you are taking small steps especially when you pivot.  Sudden pivots lead to sudden falls.  Sudden falls lead to sudden mud wrestling matches.  Sudden mud wrestling matches lead to…just make sure you are careful when pivoting in mud.

I hope those tips are a clear as mud (double snare, symbol crash)!  I’ll be here all night ladies and gentlemen.

Trail Running Surface Techniques

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009


One of the biggest draws for trail running is the technicality that running on a trail offers that road running does not.  Sure you can run in the middle of the road and dodge cars if you want, but that could be viewed as illegal in some states.  Make sure you are at least dodging with traffic to avoid a ticket.  In fact, just stick to trail running for increased extremeness.  On the trail there are a lot of difficult and different types of surfaces that demand your attention.  So pay attention.

Sand: Unlike other things, hot and loose is not good when it comes to sand on the trail run.  You want the sand to be hard and packed in; which like some other things, can be good.  The hardest portions are usually packed on the edge of the trail.  Try traversing back from side to side on the sand to find the firmest spots.  If you can’t find any hard sand then push through the loose stuff.  Open up your stride and push off your toes with every step.  Dig, lean forward, and move your arms like you are running up a very steep hill.  If you are running up a very steep and sandy hill (if you have ever been to Ft. Bragg, NC and run Koolaconch you know what I’m talking about), then rely on your intestinal fortitude to muscle your way up it.  Once you are at the top; keep running.

Mud: Mud can be Slippery When Wet Mr. Jon Bon Jovi.  So be careful when making directional changes in mud.  I’ve seen plenty of trail runners go down hard on the trail because they tried to make a quick turn on mud.  Look at the mud before you approach it.  If it’s shiny then it’s probably slimy.  If it is dull then run it full.  Yeah, that just happened.  Also, try to avoid the deepest areas of the mud so you don’t get any stuck to the bottom of your shoes.  You don’t want to carry any extra weight.  Leave some trail for the rest of the runners behind you.  Basically when it comes to mud take it from Jon Bon who is ‘livin’ on a prayer’ and says, “You’ve got to hold on ready or not.  You live for the fight when it’s all that you’ve got!”  I bet you didn’t know that song was about trail running.  It is.  Trail running is big in Jersey.

Rocks: Rocks make for a more difficult and technical trail run, which is what I know you want.  When running on rocks you need to concentrate on higher leg lifts, even if you are tired, to avoid tripping.  Rocks usually co-habitate so if you trip on one you’ll probably fall on another.  Rocks can be one of the most dangerous obstacles on the trail running course leading to broken bones and twisted ankles.  If you are skilled enough, you can use the sides of rocks to pivot your turns on the trail.  They are good natural backstops.  Do this with caution.

Forest Paths: I know forest paths are cute and beautiful but don’t let them fool you.  Forest paths often use leaves to hide tripping hazards and retain moisture.  Trees in the forest even put their roots up on the ground surface to try to trip you.  Avoid roots by hurdling them as much as possible.  Root surfaces are different depending on the type of tree it is so unless you are a horticulturalist it’s best to just stay away from them all together.  In fact, stay away from horticulturalist as well.

Get your trail running shoes on and hit any trail running surface!  You’re ready for it now!  This blog just changed your life.