T Smith, Author at Cascade Lakes Relay | Relay on Us™ - Page 3 of 4

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So far T Smith has created 34 blog entries.

Concerned About the Altitude?

For those of us living at sea level, the idea of running a relay at an average elevation of 4,500 feet sounds pretty scary.  We imagine ourselves gasping for air, struggling up the hills, and generally having a rough time of it.

In actuality, the elevation will probably not be as much of a concern as you might think.  Mosquitos will definitely keep your mind of it!!  (And yes, be sure to bring plenty of bug spray.  Those suckers are fierce.)

Here is some great advice provided by the Wild West Relay, which is run at some serious elevation (courtesy of Jon Sinclair of Anaerobic Management):

Make sure you stay well hydrated through the entire event. Most of us know that drinking fluids during a long race is important, but at altitude it is VITAL. Drink plenty of replacement fluid before, during, and after the marathon. Drinking replacement fluid is better than plain water. On rare occasions people have “overdosed” on plain water. Replacement fluid has enough electrolytes to keep your body in balance and it’s safe to drink copious amounts.

Be very conservative with anaerobic stress. Even living and training at 5000 feet we know that when we get into oxygen debt at higher altitudes it’s really tough to get back out. You should be cautious about running any harder than what feels reasonably comfortable. That’s a pretty tough task if you’re running a mean uphill or racing closely with another person, but it’s very important.

Be as fit and rested as you can be when you arrive. This may seem obvious as it’s good advice before any race, but in an altitude marathon it’s even more important. The best way to be prepared is to be well rested […]

By |July 13th, 2009|Training|Comments Off on Concerned About the Altitude?

Distress Signal

Do you know the distress signal?  No, it’s not “Ahhhhhh!!”, though that may work for those who are close to you.

If you have a team member who needs medical attention, use the following:


until someone arrives with assistance.  If it is a serious emergency, you should always call 911 first.  After you have called 911, you may also call the on-course EMT Wes Westerman at 360-536-5227.  Program your cell phone now, and you’ll be prepared.

By |July 13th, 2009|Tips|Comments Off on Distress Signal

Team Check-in: What You Need to Know

Team captains, listen up.  Here’s what you need to know about check-in:

1. You must check-in at least 30 minutes prior to your official start time.  Check in will be available Thursday evening from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm at the Diamond Lake Resort Great Room, and then will begin again at 5:15 am Friday morning at the CLR Start Line.  If you are starting before 6:30 am Friday morning, we would request that you to check in Thursday night. If you are checking in Friday morning and your team captain is in van #2, he or she does not need to be at the start.  You may send a team representative to check in instead.

2. You must present two reflective vests, two flashlights or headlamps, and two “Runners (or Walkers) on Road signs that are at least 18 x 24”. Official signs may be purchased at check-in for $5 each.

3. You will receive runner numbers, vehicle numbers and one silicone bracelet for each team. T-shirts will be handed out at the finish line, so don’t plan to wear one on one of your legs!

That’s basically it!

By |June 26th, 2009|Organization|Comments Off on Team Check-in: What You Need to Know

"Breaking the Law", or How To Make Your Team Have a Slow Slow Time

Pay attention, folks.  These are the rule infractions that will cost your team valuable time:

30 Minute Penalties

1. Having more than one race vehicle at an exchange, with the exception of major exchanges:  #1, 6, 12, 18, 34 and 30
Parking is tight at many of these exchanges, so just the active van should be there.  If you need to have the vans meet, find an alternative location that is not an exchange.

2. Not having a runner with a visible race number and wrist strap.
Numbers are to be worn on the front while on the road, and they need to be visible.  Numbers should go on reflective vests at night (not underneath).  If you want to wear a jacket while running, the number should be on the outside – so when you take it off, you should move your number as well.  If you are concerned about it, you could always get a race number belt like triathletes wear.

And yes, even when that wrist strap has gotten good and sweaty, you still need to wear it.

3. Using a bike pacer during daylight hours.
Bike pacing is only for the nighttime – one hour before sunset until one hour after sunrise.

60 minute penalties

1. Not substituting properly for injury or illness.
If one of your runners gets hurt or sick during their leg and can’t finish, you can substitute one of your 11 other runners mid-leg.  That substituted runner can keep going when they get to the next exchange, or you can have someone else start up, but your injured person is done.  They can’t run again.  And you can’t pick up a 13th runner along the course to fill in either.

2. Running on the wrong side of the road from […]

By |June 26th, 2009|Tips|Comments Off on "Breaking the Law", or How To Make Your Team Have a Slow Slow Time

First Aid Kit

Each van should carry a well stocked first aid kit.  So what are the minimum supplies you should have?  Here’s our list:

Mole skin
Ace bandages
Band aids and gauze
Ice packs
Second skin (blisters)
Icy Hot
Medical Tape

By |June 26th, 2009|Tips|Comments Off on First Aid Kit

Following, pacing, shadowing…what's the difference?

These are the options available to you for offering runner support during the race.  Because this race has much less congestion and exchanges are not parking challenges, you will actually have time to offer aid and to cheer for your runners during their leg.

This refers to the practice of driving ahead of your runner of a distance from a couple of hundred yards to a mile or two and waiting until they pass by to move forward.  This is what teams do most of the time.  You’ll want to adjust your frequency of stops to the conditions; if it is very warm out, you’ll probably want to stop more frequently to offer water and aid.  If you have a runner who is carrying their own aid, you may choose to stop less.  During the night, you may stop more frequently if they are spooked by the conditions.  Keep in mind that these areas are very dark; it is easy to have the mind play tricks on you.

If you do stop to shadow (or cheer), be sure to obey all traffic laws.  Turn off your lights when parked so that you are not blinding oncoming traffic, but leave your parking lights on so that others can see you.  Do not use your hazard lights, however.

Nighttime runners are allowed to run with pacers if they are nervous about running their leg alone.  Pacers are allowed from one hour before sunset to one hour after sunrise.  You can use a person on a bike as well as a second runner to pace during this time.  Pacers must have a light and reflective vest.

Vans may follow runners at night on one section of the course.  Following refers to the […]

By |June 26th, 2009|Tips|2 Comments

Need a Runner?

We’re getting down to that time, aren’t we, team captains?  The time when we find out who can’t run after all, the time when we pull out our hair trying to find replacements.  Be sure to check out the message board to see if there are people available.

Other ideas:  mention the fact you need a runner to everyone you know!  You’d be surprised how many runners come out of the woodwork for a relay.

Use Twitter.  Lots of runners love Twitter, and it’s worth putting a message out there.  Just be sure to use a hashtag – like #running #relay #CascadeLksRelay (one, or all) in your message so people can find it.

I’m still convinced you’d have luck making up a t-shirt advertising the fact that you need a runner and the dates of the race and running the popular trails / routes in the area.

Good luck!

By |June 11th, 2009|Tips|Comments Off on Need a Runner?

Managing Your Runners

One of the things that makes the Cascade Lakes Relay a bit unique is the relaxed attitude of the race directors towards runner order. For those used to the strict rules on the Hood to Coast, the reality that you can put your runners on whichever legs you want sets in slowly. But it is true. You don’t have to stay in a fixed rotation for this race. You can put your runners on different legs each rotation, although you will have to keep the rotation within your van. The course is closed to the second van on the section from Silverlake towards exchange #18.

Last year, our team had some runners who preferred the mileage, so we piled up the longer legs on them, and gave shorter legs to the runners who were newer to racing. If you are a competitive type, this can be a strategic advantage, as you put your faster runners on legs that cover more mileage. You still need to give everyone an equal number of legs however. This also makes things easier during the race, when you often have to switch runners up due to injury or exhaustion. There is no need to stress about who is supposed to go next with rotation – just make your changes in a way that works for your team.

For more ideas on strategy for placing your runners in legs, check out this article.

By |June 11th, 2009|Organization|Comments Off on Managing Your Runners

Predicting Your Pace

If you are trying to plan meals and sleeping arrangements, the pace predictor worksheet is the tool you need.  You just need to open the file, enter your runner’s names, adjust the predicted pace for each runner (be sure to keep it in full time format – for example, an 8:00/mile pace is going to be entered as 12:08:00), and you’ll have a full estimate of when each leg will finish.  You probably want to add :30 to each person’s predicted pace, at least on the later legs when exhaustion will set in.  It’s pretty typical for people to run as fast as they humanly can on the first leg and then pay for it later.

Run worksheet (Excel format)
Walk worksheet (Excel format)
If you don’t have Excel, don’t worry. You can use Google Docs to open the sheets (you’ll need to save the file and upload it to open it) or Open Office.

By |June 11th, 2009|Organization|Comments Off on Predicting Your Pace

Planning Your Meals

After several relays in which my teammates and I suffered the effects of poor food choices, we vowed to plan out our meals to see if we could, in fact, improve the overall experience of the race by attending to our nutritional needs.  Happily, we were able to find ways to fight off the G.I. distress that is so common in long events such as the relay.  The key, we found, is to eat as close to normal as possible, and to avoid certain foods that we know don’t sit well.  This means paying attention to when we normally would have breakfast or lunch and eating a proper meal at those times.  Sure, the red licorice is delicious, but it is not dinner.

The best way to make sure you have the food you need is to write up a food plan; this will help you pack the proper food when it comes time for the race.  You can pencil in meals you know that you are going to eat at proper restaurants, but make sure that your plan fits with what your team is going to be doing.  Use your pace prediction table to get an idea for when you will be running so that you will know what kind of food you might want to be eating at that time of day.  Don’t forget to write down your nutrition needs while you are running.

Food plan worksheet

A photo from Kelly Johnson, Oregonlive blogger, of what she ate during last year’s race

By |June 11th, 2009|Food|Comments Off on Planning Your Meals