I promised myself that I’d never sign up for the Frozen Snot (referred to as “Snot” by seasoned registrants) after the last time I “ran” it. So, for almost 3 years I avoided it. Luckily for me, the race is capped at around 300 participants and typically sells out within an hour of the registration being opened. It’s a great excuse when people ask “why aren’t you signed up?”, I can just say, “oh sorry, dang, it was sold out!”
Never heard of Snot? Here’s the skinny: https://www.thefrozensnot.com/
This year was a little different. Two of my co-workers convinced me to signup for the Sinnemahone Trail 25K Race, and despite the challenge of the course, I actually had a lot of fun. So when these same co-workers found out about Frozen Snot, they convinced me it’d be a good time. I must have taken my crazy pills because even though I was the only one with first-hand experience, I let them convince me that “yeah, it’ll be a good time”. Famous last words.
On the night registration opened, I received an eager group text from a co-worker saying he was signing up. With minutes to spare, I made the irrational decision to sign up and got in. This year’s race (2023) sold out within 40 minutes of the registration being opened, peer pressure is mother f**ker.
The Good Stuff
Despite the course difficulty and my whining, the race is run like a well-oiled machine run by a top-notch crew. Major kudos to the team for pulling this event off year after year, at what appears (from a participant’s perspective) like a seamless operation. The race staff and volunteers make Snot an experience unlike any other.
At a majority of the course exchanges, typically at the summit of each climb, there are friendly volunteers to greet you. There’s usually a fire going and comradery if you choose to stop and shoot the breeze. This year I took every opportunity to stop, and thank the volunteers, before continuing onward.
Some friendly ladies greeted me with a smile at the summit of the first climb and took my picture.
Did I mention there’s a bacon aid station? I kid you not, in the middle of what seems like nowhere, there is a rascally crew of volunteers cooking up bacon and offering shots of whiskey. This year, I stopped and had 5 or 6 pieces of bacon and soaked in the heat of the warm fire. I honestly could have just hung out for the rest of the day.
I cannot stress the sense of community this race brings. I have very limited knowledge of the people involved, but they do a damn good job of making you feel welcome. I cannot thank them enough!
The race swag is also pretty awesome, this year was a Yeti Rambler (a custom mug with the Snot logo), custom embroidered beanie, and finishers coffee mug!
The Ugly Side of Snot (at least the stuff I “hate”)
Let’s not get too carried away, the course and the elevation are no joke. From this road runner’s perspective and occasional trail runner, the climbing up isn’t the ugly side – it’s what waits on the descent. The course, depending on the year, can either be unyielding or just downright nasty. Thankfully the course was dry (frozen) and fairly runnable (even though I hiked the whole thing), so it was slightly not as bad. At least, that’s what I tell myself.
There are a lot of downhill sections that are pretty gnarly, to say the least. There are ropes to help on the descent in these sections, but (due to my lack of experience with ropes) felt like more work than they were worth. At least that’s the story I told myself as I baby giraffed wobbled my way down the slopes with my trekking poles.
The last time I ran Snot, there was a few feet of snow on the course, so I remember sledding down the last hill on my butt. This time around, there was no easy way down and I witnessed several runners hit the ground while trying to navigate these sections. A stark reminder of how tough and unforgiven the course can be.
My inexperience with ropes was my downfall. The last descent on the short course is the worst by far. It’s the steepest drop on the course and on a good day (if my legs weren’t smoked) I’d probably avoid it. At this point in the race, my legs and my brain stopped communicating. I hated every step down that last hill. Each jarring step reinforced how thrashed my quads really were.
I had an “a-ha” moment and I figured out that I actually went faster downhill when I used the ropes! The ropes almost act like a handrail and your brain stops trying to navigate and just lets you move. Of course, I didn’t realize this until the last 15-20 ft, so yeah, go me.
Before the last descent, I caught myself saying “I’ll run this again next year, it’s not so bad”. The last hill slapped me upside the head and knocked some sense into me, who am I kidding! I’m f**king done running this race!
That is… until next year’s registration and I get that group text starts up again. F**k, lemme think about it.