Adventures In Running

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The excitement builds - drop bags and such

Wow - the time until the race starts on Saturday morning is flying by. I am going to start packing my gear today - just because I have found that the early I prepare, the less I need to stress as the big day draws close.

I will be driving up to Strider's in Layton after work on Friday to get my race pack. Twilight will be coming along. We are spending the night at my sister, Marcia Nielsen's, house in West Haven. She is going to drop me on Antelope Island in the morning (I want to be there by 5:15 at the latest to get my drop bags out early enough), then she is coming back to help run the Bridger Bay Campground Aid Station (about mile 45) in the afternoon, cheer me in at the finishing line, and drive me back to her house for the night. I have driven after 50K races and get pretty shaky - there is no way I want to drive after a 50 miler.

The temperature is supposed to be between high 30's to low 50's on race day. That should be a perfect temperature. Right now they are predicting no rain and that the wind will not be too bad (I am praying for nothing like today's breezes). If the temperature predictions hold I am hoping to be able to get by starting the race in my new compression shorts, a short sleeved running shirt, removable arm sleeves, and a long sleeved running shirt on top. If it is any cooler I will also throw on a vest for body heat until the sun comes up. On top of that I will also have shoes and socks and gaiters (used to keep small rocks and dirt out of your shoes), light weight gloves and possibly a ear warmer headband on top of my running cap. I will also be wearing a head lamp for the first hour and maybe carrying a small flashlight. Most of the extra objects can get dropped at the aid station back by Elephant Head, since I will actually pass this station 3 different times in the first 20 miles.

I am going to wear my new Nathan running backpack/vest (70 oz bladder for water) and try to carry as little as possible. My base load for this vest is:
suntan stick
toilet paper (small baggies with enough for 3-4 emergency pit stops)
s caps (electrolyte replacement tabs)
basic first aid bag
5 hr energy drink
ipod & headphones
2 inch corban
lip gloss
spare watch (to be worn on my right wrist to check my drinking/eating/walk breaks
Garmin (left wrist - for mileage and splits)

The start/finish line is also a drop station that I will pass at around 20 miles. I plan to have a Base Box there, containing the following supplies:
blanket (before and after the race)
coat (before and after the race)
dry warm clothes - really important for after the race. If I get my upper body warm the hypothermia won't set in and start me shaking as badly.
vegetable cans (for the Buffalo stew after the race)

For the uninitiated - drop bags are used on ultramarathons to provide runners a place to replenish supplies. On even longer races, they can also be strategically placed to allow you to change clothes for night time and get head lamps and such. I like to use the HUGE Ziplock bags (I think they are 3 gallons). I write my name on them and they are easy to find and see what I want to grab out of them. Also, they keep my gear dry if it rains and can be easily replaced if they are worn out from handling.

Drop bags (Bag 1 is the aid station out by Elephant Head that is passed 3 times on the first loop/ Base is the Start/Finish line and passed at mile 20/Ranch is Fielding Garr Ranch at mile 33):
gu or shot blocks (# servings) - 4 (bag 1)/2 (base)/5 (ranch)
5 hour energy drink (ranch)
hand bottle (base) -- (I don't want to carry an electrolyte drink bottle for the first 20 miles and will rely on the aid stations and S-caps for the first 2/5 of the race)
spare hat & gloves (ranch) - in case it gets cold and I need dry gear
socks (base)(ranch) - in case of foot problems and/or wet socks
shoes (ranch) - in case my feet are swelling or the other shoes are rubbing
Toilet Paper bag (base) (ranch) (bag 1)
meds bag (base) (ranch) (bag 1)
first aid bag (base) (ranch) (bag 1)
2 Ensure (base) (ranch) (bag 1) - I have found that my body can handle Ensure at times when I cannot force other food down
ipod shuffle & headphones (ranch)
treat bag (base) (ranch) (bag 1)
3 " corban (ranch)
StopPain (ranch)
damp washcloth in baggie (ranch) - to wash my feet and also to clean off my hands after coating legs with StopPain
dry shirt (base) (ranch) - if current shirt is chafing or too wet
bandana (base) (ranch) (bag 1) - good for head or neck covering/wiping face/etc.

I want to have small snack size ziplock bags with supplies, if I have used supplies in the previous section, then I can just drop the bag I am carrying and grab a new one for the next section.

meds bags will contain -
ginger chews

first aid bags will contain -
eye drops
pain rub
blister packs
other lubricants

treats bags will contain -
jolly ranchers
lemon drops

It will be interesting to review these lists/plans after the race and see if my preparation needs adjusting for future races.


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