Friday, January 21, 2011

Managing all the STUFF in a 50K.

Don't Panic, this is not what you will need to run a 50K.
The top picture shows what I started the Wasatch 100 carrying.  The blue bag to the rear contains my Hydration Pack and Speed belt plus a few extra bottles.

This second picture shows all my drop bags loaded and ready to ship.  Yes, ship.  I never trust the airlines to get all my gear to a race.  I pack it up the week before and ship it UPS. 

If you think I didn't wear all that stuff, this is me just before the start at The Wasatch 100.  I decided to wear the jacket because we drove through a rain storm just a few miles from the start.  If you look carefully the trekking poles are visible in my backpack. I am wearing the Nathan 3 liter vest and the Speed belt.  The small pouch attached to the vest is my camera.

Running a 50K is pretty simple. I grab a Nathan “Quickdraw” 20 oz water bottle and a few NUUN tablets, my “Speed Belt” with three 10 oz bottles and dump 2 scoops of “Perpetuem” in each. I pick up a few Honey Stinger gels and head out the door. I almost forgot. I also add two scoops of Endurox by Pacific Health to another 20 oz bottle to be mixed and consumed after the race. (It is a recovery drink.) Oh, and there are the Enervit tablets and a few ginger chews, too. I will also grab a bottle of water to drink on the way to the race. If I will be driving for an hour or two, or more, I will take some coffee and an additional snack. I think that is about it. 

Once I arrive at the race I will take out the three 10 oz bottles containing Perpetuem and add water to ONE. I then put all three bottles in slots on the “Speed” belt. I will fill the next bottle when the first runs out. (No extra weight.) I will already have estimated how long it will take to get to the first aid station and add just enough water to be sure to get there. (Probably 8 oz) Then I will drop in the right amount of NUUN tablet. (For 8 oz add ½ tablet.) I stick the gel packs where ever they will fit. Usually, I put two in a pocket that is easy to reach. I will stick a couple more in the back pocket on the Speed belt. I put the Enervit tablets in a baggie along with the additional NUUN tablets and zip them in the front pocket on the Speed belt. You want the NUUN tablets to be very accessible since you will need them every hour or so. I cut or fold the run number so it is as small as possible and pin it to my shorts. I put a chapstick in my pocket, lock the car and put the car key in the inner portion of the back pocket of the Speed belt and I am ready to race. A few minutes before the start I eat a “Honey Stinger” gel.

I have two pair of running shorts I like. One pair is made by Nike and has a large pocket on each side. The pockets are as large and hold a lot of stuff. Actually, they can hold too much. If you put too much in them, they bulge out so much they get in the way of your hand movement when running. The other pair are called RaceReady shorts. They have 7 pockets across the back. One meas pocket in the middle, two smaller pockets on each side and one thin, Velcro close pocket on each side. The only problem I have with the RaceReady shorts is remembering what I put in which pocket.

Actually, you would probably do just as well to grab a water bottle and some electrolytes and run the race and forget all the other stuff.  Most 50K runs provide gels and plenty of food at the aid station.  For me, part of the mental preparation for any race is the "getting ready" for the race.  You may know that bike racers and triathletes shave their arms and legs before races (many keep them shaved all the time.)  I do the same before any major triathlon, like the Florida Ironman.  Some competitors will explain how the hair causes extra drag during the swim or on the bike or that no hair helps in the event of a little "road rash."  Actually, the road rash part may be true, having experienced that first hand a couple of times.

In most Ironman events the competitors wear wetsuits.  No skin is exposed.  Shaving becomes irrelevant.  The real reason we do it is because, "if you don't shave, no one will take you seriously."  It does not matter how fast you are, if you don't shave you arms and legs other triathletes will consider you a "rank amateur," a beginner.  For me, there is a much more important reason.  I will start shaving weeks before the event as my training  is beginning to peak.  The shaving is part of the mental preparation for the race.  I always shave the night before the event.  Every time I shave I am getting ready.

For me, the planning and packing for an ultra is the same type mental preparation as is shaving for a triathlon.  This year for The Wasatch 100, I started sorting and packing gear weeks before the race.  I actually began examining the course on Google Earth and and the maps on the Wasatch website as soon as I knew I was in the race in February.  As my training was peaking in early July, I was examining the course elevation profile and overlaying it with distance charts to calculate how long it would take me to reach each aid station and what I would need in each drop bag.  For me, the mental preparation is almost as important as the training runs.

We happened to go skiing in Utah a few weeks after learning I was in the Wasatch race.  We checked out Lamb's Canyon (location of an aid station at mile 53) of I80 on the way to Park City.  I like to ski off Lift 9990 at the Canyons so I took the high traverse to the right off the lift and skied over to the edge of the crest where I could see Desolation Lake far below over the ridge.  Desolation Lake is the location of a very remote aid station at mile 66.9.  From there the course climbs 1,000 feet to within a few feet of where I was standing.  A couple of days later we went over to Alta Ski Resort (probably the best skiing in America.)  We took the Supreme Lift up the the "Catherine's Area on the far East side of the resort where we could see Point Supreme at mile 78.5, the high point in the Wasatch 100.  That will certainly "psyche" your mind.

Next: How I plan for the gear I carry and put in drop bags in 100 mile runs.

1 comment:

  1. really enjoying these posts you've been putting up. looks like i found your blog at the right time as i'm going to run my first ultra in july. keep the tips comin'! much appreciated!