Mississippi Palisades is a beautiful park north of the QCA, covered with anywhere from 6" to 3.5' of snow. The temps ranged from 15degF to a balmy 25degF. I wore some old hiking boots, wool socks, running tights with cycling tights over top, base layers, ANdrea's old TargetTraining jacket, Salsa beanie, etc. The rest of the team showed up in mostly waterproof gear. Most noteable: gaiters. Oh shit, I thought. What am I getting in to?
I understood the need for the gaiters early on; after about 45 minutes we stopped because my ankles were caked with snow and I was walking in the resulting melted snow: water. I fashioned my own pair of gaiters out of a couple of plastic shopping bags and some duct tape, which worked well for a few hours. Luckily I had an extra pair of socks to change into. The only time we were truly on pavement was when we cut across the park to Hwy 84 to jog in. The cutoff time was 3:00pm; we checked in at 2:58.
I made a real effort to keep myself nourished during this event. Since we were hiking, I aimed for 20-30 grams of carbs every hour, as well as water the whole time. I had to keep my Camelbak Helena tube/mouthpiece in my cleavage to keep it from freezing. I also used my "boob warmer" to unfreeze gels and bars. Very handy! (Note: this area is also very useful as a garbage can in the warmer months.) My goal was to not embarrass myself and bonk during my first event with this group. Aside from the sock/gaiter situation, it all worked out well.
The were a few mishaps: in two and a half feet of snow, I walked straight into a tree stump- bashing my knee/shin. This isn't half as bad as when Code took a branch to the area right below his left buttcheek. Three inches to the right, and he'd a been fucked. Literally. He says it looks worse than it feels. Jesus, I hope so... because that looks like hell.
Results: immediate purchase of Gore-Tex gaiters, purchase of Ace ankle supports, 9th in a crazy strong field, flesh wounds for Code.