Monday, June 8, 2009

Frosty FANS Report

First the results from the FANS race in Minneapolis held on June 6-7: In the 24-hour Race, Michael Henze racked up 147.4 miles to break the old course record by 11 miles!! Kim Martin (formerly of Ohio) cruised in to win the women's division with 121.64. A great effort for her first 24-hour event. For the 12-hour Race, top male with 80.89 miles was John Storkamp. I ended up in first place for the women with 70.16 miles (FYI, these are all tentative distances so the mileage may change slightly).

Now for the race report. I think I am jinxed. This is my second 12-hour race in a row where it has rained the ENTIRE race. The race started at 8:00 a.m. with temps at 50 degrees and light rain. I thought initially this was a good sign as everything felt comfortable. The light rain persisted for the next few hours but before long changed to heavier stuff. At that point I was soaked but I added a jacket. Everything seemed OK but the rain kept getting heavier. This would have been OK but the temperature never did rise but instead dropped. The rest of the 12-Hour race, the temperature hovered at 48 degrees. Add to that some wind that developed in the afternoon and everything just got very cold. I finally got wise about 7 hours into the race when I stopped, changed the wet shirt and arm sleeves I had on and put on a dry long-sleeved shirt. This was much better although I still had soaked gloves, shoes and socks. The rest of the race was more of the same. My hamstrings got very tight - not sure if this due to the cold or just not yet recovered from Italy - so I ended up stretching every loop to make sure I didn't pull anything. I was extremely happy when the 12-hours were up and I could run to my car, turn on the heat and drive to my sister's house (where blankets, hot tea and dinner were awaiting me)! I understand (although I was sleeping in a nice, dry bed) that the rain finally let up about 3 a.m. and was somewhat pleasant thereafter. A number of people during the race, though, stopped for long periods of time due to hypothermia.

Some things I learned (or were reinforced) from this race: (1) Sue Olsen had a good idea of wearing latex gloves over her regular gloves to keep her hands dry. I'm going to stick some in my race bag and give them a try next time it rains; (2) Bring tights to a race just in case. My shorts were pretty cold on the legs and I had no other options; (3) Think about alternate fuel sources when it's cold. I had planned on drinking most of my calories (with Perpetuem) but I wasn't sweating enough and I ended up in the port-o-potty every hour. By hour six, I decided on Plan B, which was to drink lots less water and eat more solid food. Fortunately, the aid station was well-stocked so I ate chicken noodle soup, potatoes, pretzels, and peanut butter sandwiches in addition to Hammer Gel. While I was lucky, I need to rethink how to better fuel myself in these conditions; (4) At the last minute, I threw in my suitcase a very thin headband. This was a lifesaver. When the wind picked up during the race, it was actually blowing the rain sideways into my ear (I did have a hat on). After I added the headband, I was definitely warmer; (5) Resist the urge to change socks when it's raining. At points in the race, my shoes were making squishing noises they were so wet. I kept thinking dry socks would feel so good but I talked myself out of wasting time changing them (and of course, they would just get wet again anyway). Eventually, I just forgot about it. When I finished the race without a socks change and took off my DryMax socks, no BLISTERS.

Lake Nokomis took on a very different feel this year since it was so deserted due to the weather. There was brief activity early in the morning because another charity hosted a 5K event. Once that was over around 10:00 a.m., however, there was absolutely no one at the Lake except the people associated with FANS. Usually, there are bikers, people walking dogs, fishermen, boaters, etc. Very eerie.

The volunteers at the race were fantastic, as usual. I felt very sorry for them. At least when I was running I looked warmer than them. So, in the end, what is better? Hot and humid or cold and rainy? Hmmm.... I guess cold and rainy wins. Next time, though, I WILL be better prepared.


  1. Congrats on the win! I have to wonder what Henze could do on a nice day - I see he's signed up for the 24 hour in Ohio.

  2. Awesome job Deb! Super to get in 70+ miles in miserable conditions. I noticed I used the same title as your previous post in my post about the race - funny! I am definitely a fan of the race - inspirational stuff watching everyone out there.

  3. Go Girl! You seriously are amazing!

  4. Deb,
    Congratulations on the 12 hour win!
    Your suggestions for clothing, gear, fuel changes are right on. A lot of runners were not able to adapt quickly enough and ended up with hypothermia.
    It was nice visiting with you at breakfast.
    Best wishes,

  5. Thanks, everyone. FANS is such a great race and has some of the best volunteers! Nice meeting you John at the breakfast. I'm sure our paths will cross again at one of these races... You all should consider coming to Cleveland in October. It will be worth it to see how Michael Henze does on a fairly flat course....