A few more things. Please read.
1. Look back at the LAST post, where I covered a variety of topics, especially if you have just gotten in from the waiting list. And I want to thank three more sponsors: Chipotle of Iowa City, and Walmart of Coraville, and HyVee of Coralville. Go get something from them too!
2. Look to the right for information you might want.
3. PARKING. I've already mentioned parking may be a problem. Well, since then I've discovered that we may have lost about 10 or so of our spots. Thus, it's even MORE crucial that you carpool as best you can. And that you don't arrive at 7:45 and expect to be running at 8:00, unless someone is dropping you off.
To be clear: When you enter the park, the start/finish is about 0.8 mi from the entrance. There is parking just across from the start. Very close. When that is full, we usually send people down FARTHER to a lot that is about 0.6 miles away. Certainly you can do that walk. There are also a couple of lots (one is tiny) BEFORE the main lot. So if BOTH lots are filled, backtrack and try to use one of those. If all those fill, you have to exit the park, turn left, then turn left on Angler's Point Rd, and hike 0.6 miles to the start. Eh, you probably don't want to do that if you're unfamiliar with the area.
Bottom line: cross your fingers. Maybe it'll be no problem.
4. Well, for once we're getting reasonable race weather, but it wouldn't be a true Hawkeye 50K & 25K without some weather-related issues. In this case, the issue is that after two years of drought, Mother Nature decided to dump some snow on us, just before the race. Natch. Part of me really enjoys this, because you're all going to suffer more. (Bwah ha ha ha) But there are drawbacks. For example, it's the reason we're losing some parking spots. The other problem is that we are probably going to trash the groomed cross country ski trails. I really feel lousy about this. First, if you see a cross country skier, apologize! And agree with them if they yell at you. They've had so little good snow that it's reasonable if they are frustrated seeing us ruin their trails. Second, if it's somehow possible to run to the side of a groomed trail, please do so. And don't dump your garbage anywhere on the course. Of course.
As far as the weather/conditions: If I had to predict right now, I'd guess that it's going to be sloppy. I was marking trails Monday night and I was running in a combination of mud, ice, water, and snow. If you encounter mud, you might as well not bother trying to get around it. Just dive in because it's going to be unavoidable. The 5-6 miles of crushed gravel trail is rather odd. For some reason it turns to a cement-type muck when it's really wet instead of draining in a nice way. It'll suck the energy right out of you if it's wet enough. (Aren't you looking forward to that?!) Not to mention you're going to soak both feet completely at the spillway in freezing cold water. :-) I will be curious to see how many 50K runners throw in the towel after one lap. Bwah ha ha ha again!
The forecasted temps for Saturday (at this time) suggest a start temperature around 20, warming to about 25-30 by afternoon. And partially sunny. Actually it might be better if it's pretty cold since that could firm up the ground some and make running easier. Maybe it'll be cold enough that all the mud will be firmed up.
It won't be super windy, but the wind will likely be very cold. It'll hit you the worst the first few miles to the first aid station. After that you're buffered most of the time. So don't freak out if you're really cold up to the first aid station. It'll get better.
Just be prepared for all these conditions I've described. And remember you can put fresh socks/shoes on at mile 12.9 of each loop if you want (spillway at mile 11.2). I'll be out finishing the marking tomorrow evening (I hope) so will see what the situation is then.
5. Speaking of people not completing two laps, remember that you can NOT drop down during the race. Any 50K runner who doesn't do their second lap gets a DNF. We'll still record your distance and time, but you cannot get a 25K award. (Anyone who doesn't finish, try to tell me your total distance and time for recording. And if you leave the race before finishing, be sure to tell me or a volunteer.) You can change which race you're doing right up to race morning. (Preferably not at 7:55am though.)
6. Oh, in the last few miles, you'll go over a couple of old wooden "bridges." They are as SLICK AS SNOT. If you try to run them, you'll wipe out and break a hip. Yes you will. Just stop, and gingerly make your way over them. Just like you will at the spillway, right?
7. By the way, at the spillway you'll see a volunteer (Deb) and her doggy Sophie (below). Thank them for being there! She's just there to watch over you and point the way if needed and Sophie is there to wag you along too. I do believe she needs to leave about noon so 50K folks may not see her on lap 2. Speaking of Deb, here are a couple of pictures she took today after some freshly fallen snow (we got maybe 2-3 inches more?). The second one shows the spillway you get to cross (WALK!) over.
Oh, you may also see a Park Ranger or two out there. They actually like to watch over us. If you see her/him, THANK them for being there, and smile and tell them you're having a blast. We DO want to stay on their GOOD side and all good will extended their way helps.
8. Photographers. I don't hire anyone or anything, but if you have someone coming to watch who likes to take pictures, encourage them to do so! And then to post them where we can all see them.
9. Re: the post-race foodfest/potlock. Everyone is encouraged to eat up, including your family and friends who come watch you. Let them know that. Usually we have plenty of food. (Remember, feel free to bring something. And yes we have outlets if you bring something hot.)
10. It's hard to describe this, but as we speak there is a huge mound of snow about 10 feet after the start line. I'm not joking. You may have to begin by running 10 feet, then climbing over it. It's like an adventure race! We'll see if it's still there on race day. I hope so!
11. Oh, one of our volunteers Jordan Witmer is doing a study. From Jordan:
The flyer. Try to help him out. And if you want to meet him, he'll be at the race. His job will be as the "sweeper," meaning he's going to run behind the last person(s). Email him now if you want to meet up with him there.
12. Surely there is more, but I can't think of what. If I think of something major I'll send make one more post tomorrow night. Keep checking the FB page. Or email me at chemsmith1 AT gmail.com. See you Friday and/or Saturday!
Your friendly RD,