Yikes... I signed up for a 100-miler. One of those stupid, last-minute things we all do from time to time. Three days till show-time. 'Guess it's time to figure out what to pack!
My success rate in the past at long runs like this has been best if I don't spend my last hours before the start fretting about what I forgot. Too much energy wasted on worry.
For my own piece of mind at STORMY, I feel I need a bit of a game plan and a checklist. In the hope that this thought process might help you, too, I figured I'd share it with you. Yes, down to the undies.
Maybe we can help one another? Please share your thoughts and comments about my plan. What's missing? What do you figure is stupid and won't work? What hints and tips would you add to this that might help the next person?
Please add your 2-cents by leaving a comment (Add new comment). By all means do share this with any friends you feel might benefit (ShareThis).
'Hope to see you out on the STORMY course, but if I don't, good luck in your next ultra!
"Rain, No Train" Jackson
North Vancouver, Canada
- I love running in the heat and sun. I don't like running in the rain.
- I like running with other people, especially during the night
- Despite best efforts by race organization, I will get lost
- Don't count on anyone or anything
- Assume worst (cramping, torn calf, get jumped by a cougar)
First off, I look at what I have to work with. What type of a course is it? What type of terrain is it? Are there aid stations? How many and how frequent are they? What's on the buffet menu? Are drop bags allowed?
This 100-mile course is made up of two identical 50-mile loops. Given that I've run the course before, I know it's "runnable" with a bit of technical single track, some dirt roads and a hint of pavement. The course profile looks like a saw-blade, so anticipate lots of climbing and descending. Eight aid stations and we pass by 3 of them twice, so access to water and food is not going to be an issue. I see on the website FAQ that aid stations are well stocked with stuff I typically eat on runs. Drop bags are allowed.
Run light. Live off the race. Don't carry a lot of food, water or other stuff that will weigh me down. Use a couple of drop bags to anticipate nasty weather, special foods and other special needs.
The Environment on Race Day
What can I expect from the weather on race day? How will this impact on how I mentally approach the race and what I pack?
The extended weather forecast is for cooler (low 15, high 19) weather with 60% probability of rain.
Lovely: 4 consecutive weeks of hot, sunny weather and its supposed to rain on race day. Can I call in sick?
Pack for cold and rain. Anticipate blisters and, given my lack of love for running in the rain, a very long day-and-a-bit of being miserable.
Anticipate what will probably go wrong with my body.
All body parts intact. Knees are almost always sore. History of tearing my calf muscle of late. Getting cramps a lot.
Don't even bother to try and run fast (unless I'm with one of the bald or gray haired guys and I can see the finish line.) Eat salty stuff. Take electrolyte caps and tums. Drink lots. (Easy on the beerskis during the run.) Pee clear, copious and often during the race. WRT the knees, suck it up, buttercup.
What's my goal: Am I out to compete or complete? If the former, who can kick my butt and what strategy will I use in order to kick their's? Either way, what are my optimistic, realistic and pessimistic expectations for a finish time? What cutoffs do I have to make? How might friends who want to see me suffer estimate when I will be passing by a particular aid station? Do I need a pacer? Do I need a crew?
Let's get real: On 30K or so of running per week in the last month and less than that since Christmas, I'll not be kicking anyone's butt apart from my very own. I can only pray that the peak bagging and bike commuting provide some sort of training effect. Would welcome a pacer and, according to the FAQ, they can run for more than a full lap. Crew is always nice, but for STORMY, it's not that necessary.
Go out slow and ease-off as the race progresses. Aim for 12-14 hours on the first lap. Keep enough in the tank for an even slower 2nd lap. Aim for 24-28 hours and be happy to finish under the 32 hour cutoff. Have fun, take photos, don't get sucked in to going faster by my bald or graying buddies! Check in with Wader to see if he is still open to pace me. All of my immediate family is volunteering at the race, so I have built-in crew. Anticipate no pacer and that the wife and kids will be busy helping others.
Comings and Goings
Assuming I do run 162 kilometers and I complete the race in 26 hours. That gives me an average pace of 6.2 K/hr. That will put me roughly at the following points in the race at the following times
|University 1 (35K)
||University 1 (115K)
|Top 9-Mile (57K)
Note: Guestimates are just that... and yes, they need some work! I figure second lap will be slower than first if I go out too fast.
I shared a big checklist in another story, but it wasn't specific to a 100-miler or STORMY in particular.
Food, Drink & Meds
This is my complete grocery list:
- Jackson's special blend trail mix (dried apricots, figs, dates, walnuts and almonds). 6 small bags in drop bags
- landjaeger sausage (4)
- beef jerky (big pack of spicy teryaki. ummmm!)
- miniature chocolate bars (4)
- granola bars (8)
- power gel blasts (8)
- gels (8. 4 per lap)
- gum (3 packs)
- ibuprofen (12. Good to have some spares for pals who may need it.)
- eload caps (12. 6 per lap)
- salt licorice (4 small bags in 4 drop bags)
- salt packets (4 small packets for cramps)
- tums (calcium for cramps)
- red bull (4 cans as pick-me-up during the night)
- duct tape (for cuts and blisters)
Clothes and Gear
This is the complete list of all the clothing and related gear I anticipate needing during the race. Note: Anticipate cold and rain, so may appreciate a dry set of gear if the rain stops!
- shoes (2 pair)
- sox (4 pair)
- shorts (2 pair)
- tank top (black club fat ass)
- Hawaii shirts (2)
- sunhat / headband
- sun glasses
- number belt for race number
- Vaseline / body glide
- watch. Maybe heart rate monitor
- headlamp (2) + full set of spare batteries
- small hydration pack and one-bottle butt pack
- ipod/iphone (tunes, tweets, SOS) + waterproof bag
- wetwipes (to clean up road rash, various and sundry punctures)
Cold and Rain
- tyvex jacket
- wind vest
- polypro hat & gloves
- long sleeve t-shirt (yellow club fat ass)
Drop bags are allowed at Powerhouse (28M, 42M, 78M, 92M ), top of 9-Mile Hill (36M, 86M), one at start/finish (50M/80K), at Alice Lake on lap 2 (59M). I'm going to place my bets on only 2 of them.
- long sleeve t-shirt
- aloha shirt
- gels, landjaeger, sandwiches
- sox (2)
- red bull (2)
Start/Finish (1/2 way)
- long sleeve t-shirt
- gels (2)
- gel blasts (2)
- landjaeger (2)
- sox (1)
- red bull (2)
- towel, soap, toothbrush
- cotton t-shirt
- fleece jacket
- fleece sweat pants
- clean undies
- goretex pants
- goretex jacket
- wool hat
- wool gloves
- wool sox
- ear plugs
- sandles / hiking boots
- garbage bag (for dirty, stinky, wet gear)
- a chair
- a cooler with ice and at least 4 Guinness for me and some for my pals
- clip toenails 2 days beforehand
- no Thai or Mexican food the night before and in bed by 11:00!
- confirm there is a warm, dry place to snooze after finish
- gift for pacer/crew
- check on cellular coverage on course
- pace chart for 24, 26, 28 hour finish at key aid stations (powerhouse, 50M midpoint)
- make final revisions to will