My first 50K trail race is 14 days away.
I'm sure you know I've been doing a lot of trail running to prepare, but I have found there are other things I have to do as well.
One of the most important is dialing is my nutrition. For triathlons, I rely almost entirely on what I call "racing" food. By racing foods, I generally mean gels, drinks and blocks. I use First Endurance EFS Drink and EFS Liqud Shot. I also like Clif Shot Blocks to change it up a bit. What I have come to learn about ultras, though, is that many runners rely on real food. The kind of food can range anywhere from boiled potatoes to pb&j to M&Ms to Pringles. Definitely not healthy, but they pack a portable, easily digestible, high-calorie punch.
In my long runs I have been experimenting with nutrition, so I can be prepared for whatever might crop up. My basic plan is to rely mostly on EFS Drink (I prefer fruit punch) and EFS Liquid Shot while I am running. I know these products work well for me, and I like them. Since the race is 5 10K loops, I have a built-in fueling session every 6.2 miles. At the end of each loop, I will grab a new bottle of drink and liquid shot (if needed), and supplement with a couple bites of real food. So far I have tried salted honey wheat pretzels, mini 'Nilla wafers, and peanut butter M&Ms. Tomorrow, I will try a few potato chips and maybe a squeeze pack of peanut butter. Out of all of the things I have tried, the only thing that didn't work great was the M&Ms...too bad!
Coming from the very gear-centric world of triathlon, I was looking forward to a little bit of a break from all the stuff. Well, the truth of the matter is, you need a lot of stuff for ultras too, just different kind of stuff. First of all, there are the clothing options. Since the race is November 6 in upstate New York, the weather can be very variable, ranging from sunny and 60 to snow! I want to be prepared for anything, so I have been tracking my clothing based on conditions and temperatures. I'm hoping to have a full spreadsheet by the end of the winter, but for now, I have really been trying to be aware of the conditions and how I am feeling in what I am wearing. Right now, depending on the weather of course, I'm thinking of starting with this:
Saucony Ignite Tight Capris - These are my favorite new running tights. They are flattering, they are comfortable, and there is never any kind of chaffing.
Saucony Primo WXT Long Sleeve - I also have a similar weight Saucony mock turtleneck shirt. Both of them have cuffs you can fold over your fingers which are awesome! I will bring both, so if it is raining or I'm really sweaty but getting cold, I can change.
Saucony Ethereal Run Vest - I just got this the other day and will be testing it tomorrow. It is so light and quiet, and, let's face it, why wouldn't I want to run in something ethereal?
Saucony Omni LX Tight II - I will either start in these or bring them just in case, depending upon the weather.
Saucony ProGrid Xodus Trail Shoes -I have put these to the test and they are awesome!!
Just in case I need a change, I will also be bringing my new Saucony ProGrid Kinvaras which I will also be testing tomorrow.
For socks, I have several pairs of Smartwool running socks. If you have never run in wool socks you have got to give it a go. I was very reluctant to try them because of wool's notorious reputation for being itchy. Well, I am now a convert. They keep my feet dry and warm, but not hot. You know how sometimes after a very long run your feet are all pruny like you have been in the tub for too long? Well, wool socks really keep this at bay. Really.
Another area of equipment is hydration and fueling. Fortunately, I won't have to carry huge amounts of food and drink, so I didn't need too much. I thought about using my Fuelbelt, but instead I have opted for a 10 ounce hand-held coupled with a gel-flask that clips to my waist-band.
I'm sure there is much more gear that would be useful and fun to have, but for now, I think I will stick with these choices. The training and testing are almost done!! Can't wait to get out there and just do it!