Holy s*** that was intense! Honestly, I’m completely at a loss for words, that was by far the most intense race I have ever run. I should preface this by saying I’m not a hardcore trail runner, I’m mediocre at best, this was my first time in the big leagues.
Despite all of the heartache, the views were out of this world.
Edit: If you don’t know what the Frozen Snot is, it is the toughest race, mile for mile in the WORLD. Source and image: Frozen Snot
Race prep included several layers to deal with the cold. Layers that could be easily shed to help cool down. Several gloves, three pairs of socks, two buffs, goggles (which fogged up and became useless), hydration pack, shoes, Kahtoola microspikes, race fuel… and my sanity.
The race starts off with an easy 1 mile run along a nice paved road, a mere tease for things to come.
After warming up with a nice jog, you slip on your spikes and pretty much say goodbye to any thoughts of comfort and ease.
The trail takes a start with an immediate climb, and just when you think you’ve reached the top- you’re wrong, you enter a boulder field, and surprise, you have to climb again.
The downhill sections, in the beginning, are “forgiving” and let you come down the mountain with ease. After almost an hour of trail-time, you hear the hooting and hollering of the next checkpoint. Throw in another climb to break your spirits, and welcome to the first 2 miles.
Yes, you read that right, THE FIRST TWO FREAKIN’ MILES!
The fire was nice and warm, but honestly, it’s there for the volunteers’ benefit. Dilly-dally for too long and you aren’t doing yourself any favors. As much as I wanted to make friends, I knew I had to keep moving.
After this point, I ran down one of the longest and smoothest downhill sections of the race. I swear I had a tear of joy in my eye when I noticed how smooth the downhill was, and not a jagged rocked death slope like all of the others. My hands were cramped from having a death grip on the provided downhill ropes. How anyone “ran” downhill without as so much touching the ropes are clearly into black magic, cheating death, and shouldn’t be trusted. I’m serious.
It was at this moment, during one point in my quest to see if I was actually mentally insane, that I paused and was convinced I was lost and running the wrong way along the course. Truth be told, I secretly wished I was lost, at least I could go back to that awesome fire. After seeing some fellow Snotters in the distance, my spirits were broken, and I regained my quest to continue onward.
After another “nice” downhill (nice can loosely be described as trying to maintain a death grip onto a safety rope while scaling down a rocky and icy slope, trying not to die, crap your pants, or embarrass yourself, or maybe all three) it all became a blur.
I don’t know if I went up or down the hill, but we kept on trekking. There was a bacon and whiskey aid station on the way and my good friend Roxanne snapped this picture of me in all my glory afterward.
Yes, you read that right, a BACON AND WHISKEY AID STATION.
Full of whiskey, and salty bacon, we continued on.
The last hill was by far the worst climb ever. I honestly felt like it was never going to end. I stared at my feet and just kept focusing on my breath and taking one step at a time. One foot in front of the other just moving forward.
Once you get to the top of the hill you have a brief moment of solace. You see the beauty of the mountains and all their glory, and yet at the same time, your legs are thrashed. And that’s when you see it, the rocky downhill climb.
And it gets worse. To add insult to injury you have a climb down the backside of the mountain you’ve just climbed, with thrashed legs and some of the worst conditions possible. It’s not pretty. The Kahtoola microspikes were essential in making or breaking your experience. I’m glad I made that purchase, those spikes saved my a** more than a handful of times. One that very last downhill, out of defeat and sheer humility, I tried to lay down and die – instead, I slid to the bottom of the hill on my butt. I don’t care, don’t judge me.
Miraculously, I made it. It wasn’t pretty, but it wasn’t ugly, it was okay. For my first time becoming a Snotter, I feel I did alright. Albeit my finish being mediocre, and the course is pretty dangerous, it was a good time. Unofficial results were finishing one loop in 4:59:15. I’ll see ya in 2020 and I’m looking forward to those souls crushing hills again (almost 4,000 ft of elevation gains), no race will compare for the rest of the year.
Major THANKS to everyone that made this race possible!