Recap: The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) 2015

After months of training, doing research and buying stuff, the OMM weekend had finally arrived!

Our weekend started off on the Friday when Chris picked me up in the rental car to set off on the 6-hour drive to Scotland from the South of England.  Chris drove the whole way and the traffic was thick. We listened to a podcast about American Frankenfoods that was pretty funny and arrived in Scotland at dusk.  You could just make out the shadow of some massive hills in the distance.  In the dark it was not clear where the top of the hill ended and the clouds began!

The OMM 215 Event Center

The OMM 215 Event Center

We drove straight to the OMM center to register and get the team electronic dibbers (they attach them to your wrist for the duration of the weekend).  We had a look at the makeshift OMM store to check out the latest gear.  I bought a t-shirt and mug.  It was wet and muddy out – a sign of things to come…

We stayed overnight at a hotel in Moffat, Scotland, about 30 mins drive south of the event center.  We sorted through all our gear and prepared our final pack, lightening the load as much as possible.  I only slept okay – was hot in the room despite the windows being open and I was nervously excited.

The next day we woke up, scarfed down some oatmeal and head up to the start.  When we arrived, Thursten and Pete arrived ahead of us and they thought that our start window as earlier, so Pete and I scrambled to the start, which was a 15 min walk away.  Turns out our slot was 15 mins later, which was good that we didn’t have to rush in the end.  Chris and Thursten started in the next 15 min slot, so we waited for them on the other side of the start line.  This gave us time to check out the maps they give you when you start and plan the route to the first control.  We were on the C-Course, which is designed to be a mix of a linier and score course. Together, the four of us headed up the first mountain road up to the first control point.

To follow along, check out the maps at the routegadget site: http://www.omm.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#75 for C-Course day 1 and http://www.omm.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/#83 for C-Course day 2

Here’s the route we took on both days, note each contour lines is 15m elevation (so the closer together they are, the steeper the slope)

OMM 2015 C-Course Day 1 route

OMM 2015 C-Course Day 1 route

OMM 2015 C-Course Day 2 route

OMM 2015 C-Course Day 2 route

It was good to have an established trail to go up.  Chris, who had suffered a severe knee injury a couple of months before, was hurting on the first ascent, but he soldiered on.  Once we got to the top of the first very large mountain, the weather had changed drastically.  There was sleet-like rain, heavy wind and poor visibility.  Pete, who was nominated to lead the navigation to the first control point, took us up to the large beacon building at the top of the hill, then we took a bearing off towards the control point, which we eventually found in the fog, aided by another group searching for the same control.

IMG_2144The second control took us a bit off course as we tried to stay on high ground.  We overshot the direct route and followed a fence line that took us a bit out of our way.  There were a bunch of people around that we followed – they were a bit lost too! (or on another course, you just never know).  Eventually we made our way to control 2 and the weather started to turn around at that point.  I refilled my filtered water bottle with some sweet, cold, rusty colored Scottish water and had a powerbar and some trail mix.

I navigated the next bit.  It was fairly easy since it mostly involved following a fence line.  When we got to the end I wasn’t quite sure that we made it until we realized that the fence took a turn.  I took a bearing and we headed straight down the hill to the 3rd control inside a sheepfold.  This downhill really didn’t do Chris’ knee any favors, but we all made it.

I don’t think the OMM planners intended to have this long haul at the start.  We heard that they had to reroute the start of day one away from some hunting going on in the area, which made day one much longer than planned.  They decided to shorten the day 2 course as a result.

We decided to avoid the direct route to control 4 over a hill, favoring following the river towards the road.  Thursten made the call and it worked well.  Turned out that there was a nice trail along the river from some 4 wheeler tracks that were not on the map.  We eventually ended up on some roads and made it to the foot of the hill near control 4.  Here we decided to go up and over the hill, which was probably a mistake.  It was boggy and hard going.  In retrospect, we should have dropped down to the valley once we saw a trail, but at that point we were pretty tired, mentally and physically, and our group was finding it hard to agree on the best direction.  At lest the weather was much better and the sun was out.

Once we got up the uneven hill, with lots of knee deep holes of watery crap, Chris’ knee had finally given in.  Chris and Thursten decided to pack it in for the day (they were a team) and headed back to camp.  Unfortunately, the overnight campsite was still a distance away…

Pete and I descended to punch into control 4, then we waited to see if Chris and Thursten were behind us.  Some women told us that they were asked to relay on the message that they had headed to camp.  Pete and I decided to see how much more we could do, knowing that it likely wasn’t possible for us to finish the course due to how late it was.

IMG_2160

This was the part of the C-course where you could pick any 3 of 5 control points to visit.  I had thought that trying to keep near the camp would be best in case we had to pack it in, but in retrospect we probably should have just tried to go in a loop around the nearest 3 controls.  We headed over to control CM.

It took us awhile to get over to CM.  The footing was uneven, wet, thick foliage and sheep shit was everywhere.  We made it over to where we thought the control was, but couldn’t find it at first.  Eventually we fanned out and Pete found it a little way up the valley.

Next, we headed over the next mountain towards AD.  This too was a slog.  Lots of wind and wet underfoot, plus the slope was steep for awhile (I’m not the fastest going uphill due to my fat gut).  Eventually we made it over to the sheepfold where we thought AD was.  The control had some different letters on it (BC).  We thought it was labeled wrong, because how could there be two sheepfolds in the same area?!  Turns out we were wrong.  Looking at the map now, it looks like AD was further down the slope at a different sheepfold.  Didn’t get credit for this even though we hauled our butts all the way over there… very annoying!

It was starting to get dark, so Pete and I headed back in the direction of camp.  We had planned to follow a fence line that we saw earlier.  When we made it to the fence, we got out our head lamps because we were losing light fast.  Another muddy walk up the hill.  We took a bearing off a post where the fence took a different angle and headed over the hill to camp. It was dark by then.

Camp the next morning

Camp the next morning

Once we came over the crest of the hill, it was pretty cool. We could see the campsite, which was a relief, because we knew we had navigated correctly.  For the fun of it we looked for control number 9, even though at this point we knew we wouldn’t complete the course and would be disqualified from the competition.  It was magical to watch the pairs of head lamps descending from all directions down to the campsite.   It was like watching fireflies drawn to the irresistible safety of the campsite lights.

When we arrived, Chris and Thursten were waiting near the gate and somehow saw us coming in.  They had arrived much earlier and had already set up camp and ate dinner.  They had saved us a spot nearby and helped us get dinner on and our stuff sorted out – was nice to have the help (thanks again guys!), I was totally exhausted at this point after being out for over 10 ½ hours.

We ate. I felt obligated to neck the gin and tonic I had made earlier at the hotel that I sored in a small plastic bottle. Then we hit the sack. It was a cold and windy night.  I didn’t sleep well at all.  My balloon bed kept shifting under me and I really wish I had a full stocking cap.  I had to use my eye shades as an earmuff!

Chris and Thursten at camp

Chris and Thursten at camp

The bagpipes started to blow early in the morning, like 5:30 AM or something like that.  We knew that we had already been disqualified, so we decided to skip our early 7:30 AM start time and try to get the extra rest.  We woke up and ate some breakfast and broke down the camp.  My shoes were literally freezing after being wet outside the tent all night.

Chris and Thursten decided to try to head straight back to the finish given Chris’ knee issue.  Pete and I decided we’d try to get a few gates in, but we agreed to be back at the finish for 1 PM so we can all get home at a reasonable time (We all had to work the next day, apart from Thursten who was heading straight on to Italy for a family holiday).

Pete and I climbed up a massive mountain out of camp and over to control 3 (day 2 map).  We made it there, walking over some nice soft, spongey heather.  Along the way we ran into another team.  They were also on the C-course and had done all but one control the day before because they couldn’t find in the dark.  The guy said, “It feels like somebody had repeatedly hit the bottom of my feet over and over with a cricket bat!”.  That pretty much sums up how my feet felt as well!  The constant uneven pounding on the feet and weird angles your feet land on really take their toll on the feet and ankles.

Pete popping his balloon bed!

Pete popping his balloon bed!

From control 3 we dropped down to the river and decided to go up a mountain trail over to 185.  This was another big hill that never seemed to end.  Once we got to the top and followed the trail around – we actually saw control 185 about 30 yards away, but couldn’t be bothered to punch in.  We saw it, that was good enough!

From there we knew we had to plow on back to the start if we wanted to be back for 1 PM.  So we went over the next hill and over the mountain we climbed on day 1 to make our way back to the road we had went up.  Once we made it to the road, we knew it was all downhill from there.  We make it back at about 1:20 PM, with no sign of Chris or Thursten.  We handed in our dibber and got our free stew lunch.  Chris eventually came about 15 mins later.

Turns out that a local person had driven him back to the center and he was getting his car keys to pick up Thursten and another stranded pair on a road down by the reservoir. I grabbed my clothes out of the car and went back to the center to grab Pete and let him know the plan (sorry Pete that I bailed out on you there for a bit).

Pete and I went down to Pete’s rental car to see if we could get changed and out of the muddy parking field.  Pete did a great job getting out without getting stuck, which seemed almost impossible.  We met up with Chris and Thursten, swapped cars and Chris and I drove the 6+ hours home after stopping for a well-deserved KFC and coffee at the first motorway services.  Apart from stopping once and for gas, I drove mostly straight through.

As we were heading back, Chris told me about what happened to him and Thursten… They left camp and went up the large hill back to the start.  Chris was navigating and they kept getting confused with the map, but seemed to convince themselves they were going in the right direction.  At one point they came across some other competitors that told them they were going the wrong way, which they thought wasn’t right.  Eventually they came to a hill and saw… the campsite they started at!  Turns out that Thursten’s compass had reversed polarity and North/South was flipped!  There were other issues that lead them off course, but this didn’t help – what a bummer!

They did see the very prominent reservoir and scrapped the compass to head towards that.  I guess there were many other groups who decided to pack it in on the road by the reservoir, like the Walking Dead!  Chris eventually got a lift by a generous local person back to the start, which is where we met up with him.

In Conclusion…

My legs were still a bit sore 3 days after the event, but I really wish I could go back and have another try to fix some mistakes, tweak my equipment and try to complete the course.  Guess I’ll have to wait another year for that… bummer…

I know it probably sounds a bit lame how few controls we actually managed to hit, but it was HARD going… I’ve done a 100-mile cycling sportive before, so it’s not like I was expecting a walk in the park, but I wasn’t expecting how challenging it would be.

Overall, I’m trying to think of a good way to sum up the experience.  I can say it was one of the toughest challenges I think I’ve ever undertaken and I regret that we couldn’t finish the course, however, I’m still proud of our achievement and I would like to do it again, if not only to prove to myself that it can be done (It’s a middle-age thing 😉 ).  I really enjoyed the landscape, being outdoors, the physical/mental challenge, the single-minded focus to prepare and the camaraderie.  Thanks again to Chris, Thusten and Pete.

You can find the official OMM 2015 race results here, along with the organisation course reports:
https://www.theomm.com/omm-2015-results/
https://www.theomm.com/omm-2015-tweedsmuir-scottish-borders/

What I learned (spoiler: a lot)…

  • Scottish mountains are beautiful, but big! 😉
  • I was pretty happy with my equipment for the most part, apart from some minor tweaks I’d make (see below).  Check out my kit list post to see what I took.
  • I’m glad I packed some extra food and an additional meal.  Overall, my nutrition was spot on and I kept eating throughout the event.  I never felt hungry or completely out of energy.
  • The training we did for the OMM was not sufficient… In the South of England there are not many places to train on the extreme inclines you find in Scotland.  Physically, we knew we could handle the distance, but it’s a whole different set of muscles to haul up the slopes of the mountains.  Also, the cold, rainy, 30 mph gusting winds and boggy conditions are hard to recreate.
  • Although we did okay with the navigation, I need to gain more experience on when to go over the top vs. when to contour, vs. when to follow valleys, etc.  Route selection was an issue for us.  Distances over land always seemed farther than on the map because of the incline/decline.  Navigation as a group doesn’t work very well.
  • “Boundaries” on the map are invaluable to either follow, or use as an attack/aiming off point.  For our routes, the boundary lines on the map were usually fences that also gave us another point of information given that we could take a bearing off the fence line to translate back to the map.
  • Make sure your compass is pointing in the right direction before you start the day!!! 😉

Stuff I’d tweak for next time…

  • I think I would likely do the score course next time.  At least you would know how long you’re going to be out and if you miss a control you are not disqualified.  The score course is where you try to hit as many controls as possible within a set time limit.
  • I’d bring my full Rab coat.  I really missed the extra warmth, a hood and pockets.
  • I’d consider bringing a larger (32 liter?) pack.  I’d still want to keep the weight down, but it would be nice to have the extra space for more bulky items that I couldn’t fit into my smaller 24 liter pack.  I will still use the 24 liter pack for nicer weather or day trips. Still on the fence about this…
  • I’d probably bring warmer gloves.
  • I’d pitch the tent with the door uphill and ensure all the points are taught so they don’t flap in the wind.
  • I’d bring a better hat, probably a waterproof mountaineering hat with ear flaps. Maybe the OMM Kamleika Cap or a stocking cap.
  • I’d bring my Thermarest Xlite sleeping mat rather than the balloon bed.
  • Consider buying lightweight, foldable trekking poles, such as the Black Diamond Distance FL trekking poles (www.blackdiamondequipment.com).  Not sure about this though, would need to try them out to see if they would be more helpful than annoying to carry.
  • Update: Looks like the OMM in 2016 will be in the South of the UK (nearer to where I live), so I’m looking forward to that.

Feel free to post comments if you’d like to ask any questions.  Note that I’m a novice at mountain marathons, but I have a couple under my belt now, so I could probably answer some questions.

OMM Preparation: Breakfast Porridge Recipe

When I was at the Rogue Runs Mountain Marathon I found the porridge that I ate from Expedition Foods too large and not to my taste.  So, I went hunting for my own recipe that would taste better and be cheaper to make.

I found this recipe online: http://trekkingbritain.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/spicy-fruit-nut-porridge-perfect-camp.html

My recipe is a slight tweak to this and it tastes pretty good.  I put the dried porridge in some 23x33cm Standup Ziplock Foil Mylar Pouches I bought off eBay, which can stand up on it’s own and withstand boiling water.

Recipe:

  • Porridge Oats ( 5 tbsp ) – I used the Flahavan’s Irish Quick Oats bought at Sainsburys
  • Muesli ( 2 tbsp ) –  I used our house standard Dorset Cereals Simply Delicious Muesli bought at Sainsburys
  • Dried Milk ( 1 tbsp )  – I used Marvel Dried Skimmed Milk Powder bought at Sainsburys
  • Dried Dates ( 1tbsp chopped ) – I used two dates
  • Raisins ( 1tbsp )
  • Dried apples (1 tbsp) – Need to make sure you don’t add too many apples
  • Brown Sugar ( 2 tsp )
  • Salt ( 1/2 tsp ) – I used less salt than the original recipe, could be a pinch
  • Cinnamon ( 1/2 tsp )

The whole thing is mixed up and to prepare you add 330 ml of boiling water, stir, seal the bag and let sit for 10 mins.  I cut the bag short so it was easier to get my spoon in.

I’d post a picture, but it doesn’t look very good, although it tastes much better than it looks!

Recap: Rogue Runs Mini Mountain Marathon 2015

IMG_0019_2Last Saturday I attended the Rogue Runs Mini Mountain Marathon in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK.  It was a really nice day out.  The weather was excellent, the people were very friendly and the atmosphere was relaxed.  All in all, I can’t say too many good things about this race and the organisation.

My main goal for this event was to 1) understand the mechanics of how mountain marathons work, 2) test out the gear I intend to take to the OMM, 3) test my chops at doing navigation, 4) get in the miles on rough ground, 5) have some fun!

I think I achieved, if not exceeded, all these goals.

Event Recap

Rogue Run MapThe day started pretty early.  Pete and Thursten picked me up around 5:30 AM and we drove from Winchester to the Brecon Beacons (thanks Pete for driving).  That time of day we made good time and arrived just after 8 AM.

It was pretty chilly and wet from the dew.  We checked in, got our dibber, maps and started to transfer over the control points for the “short” liner course onto the maps.  I had a bit of a bonner start to the day of nav where I got the compass the wrong way around so I was 180 degrees off a bearing.  Lesson learnt!

We checked into the start and went on our way.  The first part was very steep and hot.  I was pretty winded and didn’t warm up at all, which didn’t help.  We saw plenty of other runners heading towards the first control, which was mostly along a well marked path.

The first three controls went well.  Pete and Thursten did the lead nav on them (we decided beforehand to have a single Lead for each control who would make the decisions about what route to take.  We did it in alphabetical order).

Rogue Run Map with GPSFor the fourth control it was my turn to navigate.  It went pretty well.  I had a decent bearing and I could see in the distance a bump in the hill I was shooting for, so it was more or less just keeping that in sight and running towards it.  There was a tricky river crossing and some contouring around a hill which I used my altimeter watch for, but once that was out of the way we just had to climb to the top of a plateau.   The actual sinkhole the control was in was deep and very difficult to see, even though we were about 20 meters away from it.  A quick bite of a PowerBar and we were off again…

Next control was also fine.  At this point we decided to go up to the top of the peaks to see the view under the principle that we were there to have fun.  So, we went off the prescribed race route and up a large hill with the plan to eat lunch at the top.  Once we got up there the view was stunning and we ran into a lot of hikers not taking part in the marathon.

As we came back around to head down to the next control we had descended too soon.  We had seen a large peak as we were walking and we had assumed that was the highest point, not knowing that there was another, higher hill behind.  Pete identified that we were on the wrong part of the hill by checking the bearing of the contour up the hill (a good trick).  There was a river, but there was not many other features to get a reliable back bearing from, so we headed back up the hill and found the saddle between the too large peaks.  Once we were there, then we were back on the map.  We decided to head to a control on the map that was not part of our course so we could have a reliable point to navigate from.

We found control #59 and from there we went downhill to the next control on our course (#58).  Pete and Thursten did a good job of nailing the navigation straight to the location, however, when we went up the gorge where we thought the gate was, we did not see the control.  I had noticed that the map said the control was at a higher altitude than what was registered on my watch, so I had another look using my altimeter watch and found the control.

From here I was navigating the next control.  I took us straight up and over the hill on a direct bearing and we were moving pretty well until I ran us into some very deep and wet boggy grassland.  Doh!  Was VERY tough going and I was hoping it would thin out, but it didn’t so I redirected us down a matted grass track back to the river.  We crossed the river and eventually found the control around the other side of a hill.

The final control and run to the finish were pretty easy because we were on the same trail we came out on.  In fact, we saw the last control on our way out at the start, so it was fairly low stress and we tried to jog it as best we could with sore legs and feet.

rogue_run_map_w_gps_small 2In the end we came in last place due to our detour.  It took us a total of 383:07 minutes on the course (A bit over 6: ½ hours).  Not great, but I think we were happy with the run overall.  Was nice to get to the finish and get my wet shoes off and enjoy some water and food.

That night Thursten booked a nearby pub for dinner.  We had a few pints, ate dinner and watched some Rugby on TV.  I was nearly ready to curl up and go to sleep halfway through dinner, but got a bit of a second wind.  By the time we went to sleep, I was well exhausted.

The next morning we got up, I tested my porridge, we put away the tents and headed home, stopping at Starbucks on the way.

GPS data of the run (until the battery ran out)

https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/904245635#.Vf6fne1qHiY.email

What I learned

  • Navigation
    • Just because you can see a high peak, doesn’t mean it’s the HIGHEST peak
    • I seem to consistently think we travelled further than we actually did until I was able to get my bearings
    • When looking at the route between controls, be sure to keep looking for intermediate features to help navigation.  Most of the navigation was done by sight and not bearing, so if there is a choice of controls, it’s probably best to find a path to a control where there are obvious features in between to use for navigation – it just makes life easier
    • When you get into heavy going boggy high grass, stop and change direction immediately!
    • If you lose your bearings, then check out the angles of hills and other features, like rivers to get a good feel about where you’re at
    • Couple of other tips I learned: when there is a ridge by a river, it’s likely there will be some sort of trail on it.  Sinkholes will have short lines perpendicular to the contour line to indicate the direction of the elevation loss
    • My altimeter watch worked great and I didn’t have to recalibrate it all day.  An essential bit of kit
    • Try not to mark up the map with linear lines from the start because 1) you never run on linear lines and 2) it blocks you from seeing some map features.  It was good to figure out the distance between controls and the altitude, so will mark that up in the future, but do so on the border of the map.  I need to come up with a map marking strategy (a future article).
  • Nutrition
    • I packed the right food for the trip during the day, but I didn’t eat it all, and was hungry at the end.  Next time I’ll eat more and more often.  You can never really eat enough
    • I didn’t like the porridge I took.  There was too much of it and it was not very tasty (plus we put too much water in it).  I think I’ll take a stab at making my own instant oatmeal to take and maybe even some homemade couscous meals.
  • Hydration
    • My hydration and filter system worked well, but I didn’t take on water when I was running low, thinking that I could do it later.  Next time I’ll take on water when the opportunity presents itself and consider carrying extra water in my spare water bottle during times we are away from fresh running water
  • Kit
    • I didn’t have a good place to put my map.  I liked running with my hands empty and ended up stuffing my map in the backpack strap across my chest, which worked pretty well.  Next time I’m going to consider using a chest bag with a zipper so I can more easily get to stuff I need, without the risk of it flying out and losing stuff.
    • I’m definitely going to try to lighten the load more, I was fine with the weight on the day, but it was hard to close my bag.  I need things that take up less space, plus the OMM will have more ascent so lighter is better.  I’ve already bought a balloon bed from the original founders (who by happenstance are the ones who organised the mini marathon).  Very nice people!
  • Misc.
    • Make sure I stretch and warm up before I start

In conclusion, I had a great time and would do this event again in the future.  I would recommend it to anybody who would like to test out if mountain marathons are right for them.

OMM Preparation: Past OMM Map Analysis

Screen Shot 2015-09-15 at 13.05.34Given that this is the first time I’ve done the OMM, I wanted to take a look at the maps from past years to get a feel for what to expect.  From my analysis of the maps posted online here ( http://www.omm.routegadget.co.uk/rg2/ ) and the results of the 2014 event posted online here ( http://www.butlercole.plus.com/mn/omm2014/index.html ), I have come up with the following conclusions:

– It looks like the gaps between checkpoints are roughly averaging around 1 km, with some as long as 5 km.  I was happy to see this because it means that under good weather conditions it’s possible to have line-of-sight view of the next gate so running on a bearing is much easier.
– I didn’t see much of a pattern from the winning times of the runners on the C course.  The top two finishing teams had chosen the same control sequence, but I don’t have much insight into why they chose the controls in that order (other than the obvious reason that you’d want to hit the chosen controls in as sort of distance/time as possible).  I think I intend to plan my way around the course as it happens, rather than have some sort of pre-defined route.  Would be good to hear some experienced OMM competitors talk about how they choose their control sequence.
– I like looking at maps!  It gets me excited about both the mental/intellectual challenge in addition to the physical challenge.  I’m sure I’ll make plenty of mistakes this first time out, but will learn.

Please comment if you have any insight into how to best plan a route though the OMM C Course.

OMM Preparation: My Kit List

Over the past couple of months I’ve spent a good deal of time researching and refining my kit list for the OMM mountain marathon. As of today, I’ve acquired all the minimum kit list as defined by the OMM rules (https://www.theomm.com/events/the-omm-2015/rules). I’ve also gathered the food I intend to take over the 2 days and split out the team equipment by weight. So, this list is my “first cut” of the complete kit. Now I’m in the process of slimming it down and making weight/warmth/comfort/calorie tradeoffs.

When I first started to gather together the stuff on this list it was clear that all of my “family camping” gear simply wasn’t going to be suitable due to size and weight. I have a pretty good 3 season sleeping bag and a nice two man North Face tent, but even these would take up nearly all of my 24 available litres and probably most, if not all, my target weight allocation. So, it was time to do some research and get out the credit card…

Target weight and Calories

My target weight for my full pack was around 6.5 kg and a minimum of 4,500 kCals of food over the two days. Currently, with food, my full pack has a measured weight of 7.1 kg, which I think is acceptable given that I’m carrying 6,000+ calories. I expect I will adjust the food one way or another once I do the mini marathon in the Brecon Beacons in the next few weeks. I should also be able to drop some of the weight.

The Kit List

Below is the google spreadsheet I used to compile my pack list. A few notes about the columns in the sheet:

– “Item” – The thing
– “To buy?” – Do I need to buy the item? (‘x’ = still to buy, ‘-‘ = waiting to be delivered)
– “Packed?” – Is it currrently packed in my bag?
– “Quantity” – The number of the item I intend to pack
– “Weight (g)” – Weight in grams per item
– “Total Weight (g)” – Total calculated weight (Quantity x Weight)
– “Can be lighter?” – Can the item be made lighter somehow?
– “OMM Required” – What part of the required OMM kit list does this item satisfy

Under the section called “Clothing (running)”, I don’t count any of this towards my total pack weight. Things that say “pete” are items that my teammate Pete will buy or carry.

Below in the green sections you can see the totals. “Total Weight (g):” = The total weight of everything. “Total Pack Weight (g)(not running gear or pack itself):” = as described. “Total Pack Weight (g)(not running gear or pack itself, minus 1/2 shared):” = as described, weight of gear minus half the shared team weight (e.g. this is the actual weight of the gear in my pack I will take).

Under the food section I also calculate out the kCals in each item and total that up as well. See the previous post about my Trail Mix recipe.  Note: You may need to scroll to the right in the spreadsheet to see the calorie calculations.

As far as extravagant items I have on the list that are “extras”, I have a lightweight sleeping mat and pillow, a pocket knife and a slightly heaver thermal survival bag (which I intend to use with my sleeping bag at night).

I’m pretty sure I’ll be making many changes to this pack list over the next couple of months, so check back for updates. I’ll also post articles on research I did into specific items on the list.

OMM Preparation: Todd’s Trail Mix

I have a pretty basic trail mix recipe that I like to take out with me to sustain me between proper meals, especially if I’m doing an activity that sucks up my energy.

Todd's trail mix in bowlIngredients

Essentially, there are 3 ingredients that you mix in more-or-less equal parts:
– Honey roasted Peanuts (180g – one bag)
– Plain chocolate M&Ms (165g – one bag)
– Raisins (180g – measured)

Total Recipe Batch Weight: 528g

In the past I’ve added other stuff like pretzels in there, which is nice too, but I find that this is simple and gives me the most satisfying texture and mix of flavours.  It’s also fairly easy on the stomach (at least for me) and packed with calories.

Calories

– Honey roasted Peanuts (5.87 kCal/gram, 1056.6 kCal/recipe batch)
– Plain chocolate M&Ms (4.89 kCal/gram, 806.85 kCal/recipe batch)
– Raisins (2.93 kCal/gram, 527.4 kCal/recipe batch)

Total Recipe Batch kCals: 4.528 kCals/gram, 2390.85 kCals/recipe batch

Sealing the trail mix bags

Sealing the trail mix bags

Preparation

1) dump ingredients into large bowl, 2) mix with clean hands.

Depending on the situation, I may seal the mix in 23x33cm Ziplock Mylar Bags using an iron on the top edge.  These bags have a notch in the top so it’s easy to rip open.

If you have a favourite  trail mix recipe, then please share in the comments below. Enjoy!

New Adventure: Rogue Runs Mini-Mountain Marathon 2015

cover4What is this Adventure and why am I going?

The Rogue Runs Mini-Mountain Marathon in the Brecon Beacons, Wales, UK is a two day mini marathon event.  I’m going mainly as training for the OMM (see earlier post).  This seems like a nice and relaxed opportunity to understand how mountain marathons work and if my gear/camping equipment will work out once I get to the OMM.  They use the same electronic gating system and honing my navigation is my goal.

We’re only doing the one day short course to ease into the scene, with an overnight camp to try out the tents, etc.

Who am I going with?

I’m going with long-time family friends Thursten and Thursten’s brother-in-law Pete.  Chris might also come, although he’s nursing a busted knee at the moment.

What’s the story so far?

So far I’ve done the prep work for the OMM, which will feed into this trial run.  Check out the OMM articles for more info.

General Event Info…

https://sites.google.com/site/roguerunsevents/home/our-events/mini-mountain-marathon

Dates: 19-20 September 2015

New Adventure: The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) 2015

The OMMWhat is this Adventure and why am I going?

The Original Mountain Marathon (OMM) is an endurance race where teams of two navigate a series of checkpoints across the wilderness.  Participants need to run with all the stuff to sustain their team for two days in the mountains, including food, cooking and camping gear. This year the OMM will be held at Tweedsmuir Hills in Scotland.

I’m doing the OMM this year because I sort of fell into it… long-time family friends Chris and Thursten had already committed to go as a team and they talked me into it at the pub.  I did some research and decided “what the heck, let’s do it.”  Once Pete agreed to be my teammate, then I was in.

Sounds pretty crazy huh?!  Well I guess I’ll find out! (Especially since I’ve never done this type of thing before since I was a Boy Scout).  I have to say I’m not much of a runner, but the combination of navigation and self-reliance really appeals to me.  My goal is simply to finish and use this as a springboard to go on other adventures.

Who am I going with?

I’m going with long-time family friends Chris, Thursten and Thursten’s brother-in-law Pete.  Pete is my partner for the OMM.

What’s the story so far?

So far I’ve done quite a bit of research on gear, buying of said gear, initial packing, some training and plotting with the others.  The event itself is only about a month-and-a-half away, so there’s still plenty to do.  I’ll be adding new posts about my preparation and research in the coming days.

General Event Info…

https://www.theomm.com/events/the-omm-2015

Dates: 24-25 October 2015