5 Things that got me through . . .


. . .  My first trail race

I love you free spirits who just go out and run. I’m a girl scout; I believe in preparation! Maybe that’s why I’m not usually super nervous before a race. I was a little nervous before this past half (read the recap here), but chatting with Skirtsisters before the start took my mind off of it.


Today I am joining up with the  Friday Five 2.0  from Fairytales & Fitness and Rachel @ Running on Happy and sharing five things that helped me run a successful first trail half.

Still gushing over the hydration pack

Hydration Pack
This is obviously beating a dead horse, since I devoted last week’s Friday Five (read it here) to the subject. Most runners didn’t seem to be carrying water at all. And yes, it was a very chilly day. I need my hydration and I just love my hydration pack and am glad I finally tried one! And then another . . .

A similar one from Amazon (affiliate link) here.

They were so cute before they got all muddy!

Dirty Girl Gaiters
Do you need gaiters to run a trail race? Of course not. Will they help? Obviously, I think they do.

Where I ran in training had several very sandy patches — like running in the unpacked sand on a beach. I would get home and empty what felt like the entire trail from my shoes. My feet would be dirty despite my socks.

The first time I ran with gaiters only a tiny trickle of sand needed to be drained from my shoes. I was immediately sold.

Gaiters cover the bottom of your legs and part of your shoes, and their purpose is to keep all that trail debris out of your shoes. Unfortunately, since I had to return my trail shoes, I now have to dig out the velcro (wherever that might be) to attach gaiters to my new trail shoes (when I buy them).

The good news is that they since they send along more than enough, I don’t have to buy new velcro — assuming I can find the leftovers.

You can buy your Dirty Girl Gaiters (not an affiliate link, although they are available on Amazon) here.

Love these compression socks!

Mudgear Compression Socks
I think I may have found the perfect cold weather compression socks. One of the reasons I run in compression sleeves instead of compression socks is I hate that tightness around my toes — it feels like they’re being squished together — and the fact that there’s so little padding.

Mudgear targets the OCR and Tough Mudder crowds. It’s mildly compressive around your lower legs, but the feet are regular socks and nicely padded. I bought a medium, but I will say that they actually felt a bit too loose around my toes. I wonder if the small might be a better fit for me?

They got wet . . . again, and again, and again . . . yet they would dry out between dunkings and I didn’t get blisters.

Get your Mudgear Compression socks from Amazon (affiliate link) here

No, of course, this is not something you need for a trail race. If I hadn’t taped both knees, though, there might have been a lot more pain, a lot more walking, and it might even have derailed my UT half. Rocktape rocks; no joke!

You can buy Rocktape (Amazon Affiliate link) here.

Honeystinger Waffles
My race started at 9 am. We left at 7:30 because it’s a half hour drive and we knew parking would be limited (we could have left a little later). I ate my normal prerace breakfast of overnight oats at my usual time, around 6 am.

I know lots of runners run half marathons on very little fuel. What can I say, I like to eat, and I know that with 3 hours between breakfast and the start of the race, I needed a little somthin’ somethin’ — Honeystinger Waffle to the rescue!

You can buy them here (I’m a Honeystinger Ambassador, but I don’t make any money off of your purchase — just sharing the love here).

So let me know in the comments:

Do you need a prerace snack if breakfast was several hours prior?

Have you ever attempted a race that pushed you outside your comfort zone — if yes, which one and why?

Would you try a tough mudder or OCR race (me: no thank you! The trail race was enough tough mud for me!)?

Disclaimer: I am an Ambassador for both Skirtsports and Honeystinger. I make no money from the links in this post, and I was not provided any items for free. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.

26 thoughts on “5 Things that got me through . . .

  1. I wondered how the gaiters worked…I didn’t realize there was velcro to keep them in place (#duh). I agree with you on the compression sleeves vs. full socks. I sometimes wear full socks for recovery,but I hate the tight feeling around my toes. I’ve been tempted to cut out the toes from the socks (?)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s also a hook that goes under your laces.

      I wear compression socks for recovery, for travel, and for various aches sometimes, too.

      I do have a pair of CEP recovery socks that have no toes — so they’re perfect for sandals in the summer! As long as you’re not going out (or don’t mind looking bizarre).


  2. I cannot wear a hydration pack. The weight pulls on my shoulders and hurts my back. I’m glad that it works for you.

    I’m really curious about your knee tape–did someone prescribe that for you or is that something you did on your own?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, I did it from the info at the KT Tape site (back when I was still using KT Tape). All I can tell you is that it totally works for me.

      I’ve taped a lot of other areas of my body, too. Sometimes when I don’t get it right it can actually aggravate something — I may have run into that this week — but without my knee taping I probably wouldn’t be running halfs at all anymore.


      1. I do a lot of strength training. I’ve been to physical therapy & had exercises from my chiropractor & I’m pretty diligent.

        The problem is I never know when it’s going to strike. Most of the time I’m fine, but when I’m not, it’s a real problem.


  3. Congrats on your first trail race!

    Compression socks are amazing – they really help my legs! I wear them for long runs and also recovery. I do not run with a hydration pack but I do run with a Nathan handheld water bottle.

    I’ve never tried Tough Mudder, but I’ve done one Spartan Race. It was in Citi Field so I didn’t have to deal with mud (I cannot deal with mud!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am someone that needs to eat often though not drink often. If it’s more than 2 hours, I take a GU before I start.

    All my halfs feel outside my comfort zone. They wouldn’t if I did my long runs and trained on hills. But it is what is it. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.

    I admire your dedication. Is there any gadget or apparel that you haven’t tried? LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I may have a few more gadgets up my sleeve. 🙂 I love trying stuff! And since I rely heavily on reviews, I like to share my opinions — although I never do an Amazon review. I keep thinking I will & I never do.

      Races should be hard; if they’re not, you’re not racing. OTOH, if I don’t train, it’s painful (sometimes even if I train), so I would rather be prepared. It’s not fun for me if I’m not. Of course sometimes there are just circumstances beyond our control.


      1. My pocketbook doesn’t allow buying new stuff and I have enough clutter in my house. I prepare to spend my money on races. I don’t think races should be hard at all. Only maybe if you are injured or trying for a PR. They should be FUN!!!

        Liked by 2 people

  5. The mudgear compression socks sound really good. I’ve done a couple of mud runs and that is always my biggest worry – getting blisters on my feet!

    I’ve only had the Honey Stinger Waffle once and thought it was delicious!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I always get crap in my shoes when I trail run, but I have never tried gaiters, my running list of things I need somehow seems to grow all the time lol
    I wish I would have wore my hydration vest for my halfs in April it may have helped!

    Liked by 1 person

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