Sunday, April 8, 2018

Race week: Final Gear Prep/Check

Well, Race Week is upon me.  In less than 120 hours, I'll be towing the line at Zumbro, staring down a run of 100 miles and 30 or more hours.  This race has been on my mind since I finished Wild Duluth in October.  With the countdown until the race nearing completion, I've had a pretty busy weekend, prepping gear, talking to my pacer, and calming my own nerves, as I look to the known unknowns.

Gear check

My main concern this weekend was getting together my gear and nutrition for Zumbro.  Between packaging up food, washing, drying and sorting clothes, and just gathering everything, it was a lot of work.  Here's a run down of the gear and food I have packed and ready to go: 

Zumbro 100 packing List
ClothingFuelAccessoriesFirst AidPost-Bag
shorts x2Tailwind 68 servingsbelt lemppeptoKeens
compression shortsEspresso Beansextra batteriesNaproxenHoodie
Nike PantsRed Bull?charger cordsband-aidesDry socks
SW socks x6 pairJerkyAnker Chargermole skinLounge Pants
pantsGelsTrash bag(s)wet wipessleeping bag
Compression SleveschairSun Block
M4M ShirtVestChap Stick
OM 1/4 zipBottles x2Bodyglide
hat (winter)towelCough drops
Hat (ball cap)paper towelsKT Tape
LSD jacket1gal ziploc bags
Altra Superiorheadlamp
Altra Loan Peak x2
UA tights
Mizumo zip up
Asics 1/4 zip
UA Fleece x2
Gloves (winter)
spare tech shirt
Reebok turtleneck
That's a lot of stuff, right?  I'll break it down and go over each subheading individually.


Zumbro looks to be a muddy, slushy, rainy, snowy mess this year.  Basically my favorite kind of conditions.  The only downside is the temperature.  With lows forecast to dip into the upper 30s, staying warm is a top priority.  Or, at least, I think it will be.  Weather is fickle, so I won't be making any final decisions on clothes until the night before, or even race morning.  Those issues aside, my main philosophy for packing clothes is LAYERS.  I'm packing enough clothes to be able to add and remove layers as needed.  Basically the only thing that will stay on me the whole time is whatever I wear for bottoms, shorts or pants, and that's not even 100% certain.  Only time will tell.  

For my feet, I'm planning on swapping shoes and socks after every 2 laps, so I'll be wearing the same shoes for 33.3 miles, give or take.  At Wild Duluth, I wore the same mud-soaked pair for 42 miles, and was fine, so changing shoes 9 miles sooner each time, this time, should work out well.


At Wild Duluth, Tailwind worked VERY well for me, so I'm taking an If it ain't broke, don't fix it, approach to fueling at Zumbro,  68 servings of Tailwind equates to 34 hours at 200 calories per hour.  At Wild Duluth, my amazing buddy Jay crewed for me, so I had full fuel bottles waiting at Every Aid Station. 
At Zumbro, with it being a looped course, and limited crew access, I'll be more going it alone.  To work with that situation, I've packaged up my Tailwind in easy open packages so I can grab, dump, fill with water, and go, at the Aid Stations.  My amazing wife labeled all of the bags and, because she's awesome, added funny names to some.  I have a feeling I'll really appreciate those when I'm sleep deprived and feeling down!

For additional Fuel, because extra is always a good idea, I am bringing along some gels, some jerky and, of course, some chocolate covered espresso beans because, caffeine.  Red Bull was on the list, at the recommendation of a friend, but since I haven't run while drinking it before, it won't be coming to Zumbro.


This is all the other things that I know I'll need on the run.  Key on the list are my vest, bottles, belt lamp, extra batteries, Anker charger and charging cords.  

My Ultimate Direction vest has served me well through my first 2 ultras and I know that it rides well in wet and dry conditions, without chafing.  My bottles, of course, are extremely important, since my main fuel source is fluid.  My UD bottles have also gone on both ultras, so I know they will work well.

My Ultraspire belt lamp is amazing!  I love having it, and am totally confident in it's ability to illuminate the rocks, roots and slush on the trail for me. I'll (hopefully) be taking pictures most laps, to document this run, and my watch won't last for 30 hours, so the extra weight of a charger is worth it.  If/when I need to charge my phone though, I'll leave it with my family at the start/finish.  An extra headlamp, stowed in my drop bag at the halfway point of the lap, is an insurance policy.  It will be there to make sure I don't get caught in the dark without light.  If I get caught in a tight spot and end up using it, the plan is to drop it at the start/finish, when I get my belt lamp, 

Trash bags serve dual purpose, to hold wet gear, and, just as importantly, as a rain poncho.  Nothing like having things that have multiple uses. Paper towels, TP and a towel are all pretty self explanatory.  I'll be drying and wiping with those things.  A very useful thing on a rainy run!

First Aide:

This is all my "Oh Shit!" gear.  I'm hoping to leave all of this in my drop bag and only take it out after the race, to put it away.  That said, aches, pains, blisters, cuts, scrapes, stomach and bowel problems are all part and parcel with running 100 miles through the woods, so I'll be ready for them if/when they happen!

Post bag:

This is the gear I will be waiting for, the things I will want to use.  Getting into dry, comfortable clothes, and snuggling up in a sleeping bag, will be the beginning of my recovery.  Rest is key to recovery, and I want to be sure I'm as comfortable as possible while I do that!

Gear laid out and ready for inspection

Final notes:

My list is not comprehensive.  I know there are probably things that I don't have, and that I will wish I did have.  For a first 100 mile though, I think I'm set.  Learning is part of ultra running, and this 100 mile will be a postgraduate education "in what does my body want, what can it do, and what do I need in order for it to do it?"

That said, While gear is extremely important to running an ultra, I know it will all come down to me. Am I willing to do what it takes to finish?  Will I have the toughness to pull through?  Those questions, and others, have yet to be answered, and also are best left for another post.

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