Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Wasatch - Water, Electrolytes, Food

Wasatch was the smoothest 100 mile race I have run (to mile87.3- actually to mile 90.)  I had to walk out almost 2.5 miles to where I met Marye Jo.  I think one of the reasons everything went well despite being very tired the whole run (thanks to AF) was that I was using NUUN tablets in my water.  At each aid station I would pull out the bladder from my hydration pack and check the level.  It is calibrated in ounces so I added water in increments of 4 oz so I could add exactly the correct amount of NUUN tablets.  (1 tablet for 16 oz-1/2 tablet for 8 oz - 1/4 tablet for 4 oz.)  The ratio works so well for me that I don't think I ever took any additional electrolyte caps the entire race.  At Lamb's Canyon and Brighton aid stations runners are weighed to be sure they are not becoming dehydrated or over hydrated.  I was within a couple of pounds of my weight at prerace check-in despite having run 53 and 75 miles.

I don't drink or eat on any kind of schedule.  Instead, I just drink a little water every few minutes.  This is much easier when you are carrying handheld water bottles but the hydration pack works fine.  Because I always use the backpack during long training runs I am accustomed to grabbing the hose every 5 or 7 minutes and taking a drink.  Every two or three drinks of water I take a drink of Perpetuem.  In a training run or a race, I will finish off the first 10 oz bottle in the first 1 1/2 to 2 hours, then try to empty one bottle every 1 to 1 1/2 hours for the rest of the race.  As I approach an aid station, I will pull out the 10 oz bottle of Perpetuem I have been drinking from and check the level.  If it is almost gone, I will finish it off before reaching the AS and place the empty bottle back in the belt.  I will then take out a new bottle as I come up the the aid station and hand it to someone to fill with water.  Because the bottle is half full of Perpetuem powder, after the water is added I shake it up and add more water until it is almost full.  At Wasatch, most aid stations were hours apart so usually I filled two bottles before heading out.  If the Perpetuem bottle still had a lot left in one bottle, I would just add water to one additional bottle.

As I mentioned, I always carry some type of gels.  My current favorite is Honey Stinger "Gensting" Energy Gels.  I like the way they taste and they seem to work very well.  I have tried a lot of different kinds and like  most of them, but after 6 or 7 hours I just cannot eat them any more.  With Honey Stingers I can eat them for 30 hours straight with no problem.  A good way to find out what you like is to order an assortment and try them all.  Zombie runner sells electrolyte assortments and gel assortments. You can also stop by a local bike shop and  buy one or two of everything and see what works best for you.

I don't use a regular schedule for gels either.  I just eat one every now and then but try to consume on per hour but it usually ends up being more like one every two hours.  Between the Perpetuem, the gels and what I eat at aid stations, I don't seem to need to eat any more than that.  I have mentioned in the past that I eat what looks good at the aid stations.  Usually, I will grab some or all of the following: half a sandwich (almost always peanut butter and jelly), a couple of chocolate chip cookies, a few potato chips, a slice of orange and a slice of banana.  If they have soup, I will sometimes have a cup, too.  I do not eat all this stuff at the aid station.  I will eat the slice of orange because that takes about 10 seconds, but what ever else I want, I take with me.  I put the banana and the cookies in a pocket and head out with the sandwich or soup.  If I do want both a  sandwich and a cup of soup, I eat the soup at the AS because I don't want to carry the paper cup to the next aid station and I don't want to put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my pocket!!  I will immediately start walking and eating.  After finishing the sandwich, I will start running again.  A few minutes later I will pull out a cookie and eat it on the run or walking.  I may not finish off everything for 20 or 30 minutes.

I try never to sit down at aid stations that are not drop bag station.  If it is a drop bag station I do sit down while I sort through everything.  It is easier to lay out what you are leaving, then take out the bag of new supplies and stow them for the next leg.  I try to put things in the same pocket at each drop bag station.  That is, I put the NUUN tablets in the same pocket each time, I leave a chapstick in the same pocket, gels in the same pockets, etc.  If I don't do this I loose stuff I am carrying.  I also carry a baggie of "extras" stashed away in a remote pocket in my pack.  An emergency kit, so to speak.  At Wasatch, I also kept a course map and directions in that same pocket.  I didn't need any of the emergency extras.

There are a few other things you need to keep with you during all races and long runs.  In a 100 mile race you will be on the train over one entire day and night, sometimes in some very remote locations.  I always keep certain items in a baggie in my backpack.  These things are important so I will list them.
   1.  A couple of pouches of sun screen.
   2.  Medical tape (I use Kinesio Tex Gold) precut to two or three lengths.
   3.  Sharp pocket knife.
   4.  A few band-aids.
   5.  A compass.
   6.  A couple of paper towels or toilet paper.  They just don't put port-a-potties where you need them.
   7.  A little cash or a credit card.
   8.  I always have an extra set of batteries in the drop bag where I pick up flashlights and headlamps for the night.  I only carry them over night.
Perhaps the single most important thing to have with you on all training runs and long ultras is a cell phone.  Don't even think about going out alone for a train run without one.  (And charge the battery the night before.)  It can save you life.  Just as important is a "Road ID" bracelet.  If  you do not have one, order one today.

I also put an extra set of contact lenses in a drop bag or two.  You can probably add a few things to this list.

Back to the race, Mile 53, Lamb's Canyon Aid Station.
The Lamb's Canyon AS sits

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