Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Mt. Hood 50 Week - Day 2

I overslept today. It was sorta nice. I opened my eyes at 7:50 and was supposed to be at work at 8:00am, so that was an issue. But what can you do?  I texted someone at my office, let them know I was late and showed up to work at 8:25, not TOO bad.  I tried to get as much work done as possible since I'll be out on Friday, but mostly, to take my mind off running and the race.  I was successful at getting lots of work done, not so successful at keeping my mind off of running. 

I started going through all the gear I want to bring.  It seems somewhat easier than packing for an Ironman, but still wouldn't want to forget stuff.  So just like the ten essentials for hiking, I created a list called: "Gaby's Ten Essentials for Trail Running"

After an epic trail run
1. Shoes. It seems dumb, but it's important to have it on the list.  Multiple times I've been so worried about the other gear that I find myself walking out the door without my running shoes. Then I find myself running  back inside: "I forgot my shoes!!". Remember to bring the shoes you've been training with. 

2. Socks. It's surprising how these little things can make or break your race. I have tried expensive Pearl Izumi socks, reasonably priced "dry-fit" Nike socks, but the ones I LOVE are the cheap Target "dri-fit" socks.  For races like these, I tend to bring an extra pair or two to have out on the course (in drop bags) in case mines get wet.  

3. Running clothes. What are you wearing? That question always brings up a HUGE question mark in my face, but overtime, I've learned what to bring: a little bit of everything.  I usually bring running shorts (I love the Nike Tempos) unless it's winter, otherwise, shorts will be good enough. Even if it's chilly at first. I usually bring two shirts: a long sleeve and a short sleeve, just so I can decide last minute based on race time weather conditions. I also bring a light running sweatshirt in case it's supposed to be cold at first, but warm later. For longer days, this extra piece of gear is recommended regardless of conditions in the morning... especially in the mountains, the weather changes fast. That said, a light rain jacket is always nice to have as well. Depending on the location and time of year, you may also want to carry a pair of light gloves and a beanie. 

4. Sunscreen. Always wear sunscreen. Especially at high altitude and when you're going to be out for long periods of time. Wear sunglasses as well (or bring them with you in case it gets sunny), your eyes burn as well and the more protected you are, the more comfortable you'll be. On long runs I carry a small travel-sized sunscreen bottle, although when racing, you may find sunscreen at several aid stations. 

5. Fuel. This is a personal choice... meaning, I can't tell you what to carry. Fuel hourly on long runs and try and eat what you ate during your training runs.  Liquids and gels have the advantage that they're made to be digested quickly so you get the benefits of it fast.  Over the years I've figured out how much I need to stay energized and how often. During longer runs, it's nice to carry several types of fuel so you don't get bored and can eat whatever you're craving.  I will guarantee you won't want to eat the same thing during the 1st hour and during the 8th hour.  

6. Hydration. I personally carry my hydration vest.  I love it. There's all sorts of different brands out there, I have the Nathan one, which has a 2-liter (68 ounces) bladder.  It also has a small zippered pocket in the back where I usually have some extra food, sunscreen, tissues and some first aid items.  I also put my ID and some extra cash (or credit card) there.  It's pretty decently sized.  In the front I have a small zippered pocket for my GUs and some salt pills and another pocket (no zipper- so it's easy access) where I put one GU (the one I'm gonna eat next), my map (usually just the elevation profile), and my chapstick.  If I'm running for fun, this is where I'd put my camera as well.  Anyway, this bladder lasts me quite a while considering I drink around 20 ounces per hour, So in theory, I only need to re-fill once.  Unless it's too hot... Or my run is going to go well over 8hrs (like my 50-miler). 

7. Watch (Garmin). While I wish I could run endlessly without knowing how far and fast I'm going, I just cant' make it.  I need to know where I'm at, how long I've been out there and my elevation gain so far.  It can work for the best sometimes since not only do I use it to pace myself to run my fastest marathon (or whatever distance I'm doing), but I need it to know when I'm going too fast.  Especially early on, it's nice to know a certain pace is way too fast for the first 5 miles of a 50-miler. 

8. First Aid Kit. Ok, I don't usually carry my full first aid kit but as of late, I've made sure I have a few essentials. First and foremost, I carry water purification tablets. What if I run out of water, it's hot and I'm far from an aid station or car?  I should be able to get water from creeks or lakes without dying. I have a couple bandaids, ibuprofen, gauze. These items should keep me going in case I get blisters or fall. 

9. Map. If I go for a training run in the wilderness, I bring my map. For trail races I bring the map and the elevation profile. I've found I perform better if I know how to save my energy for hills so knowing where those hills are seems pretty helpful and just in case I fall behind, I have to have a map I understand.  I usually study my trails before I head out (even if it's a race and it's all supposed to be well marked). 

10. Cell Phone. Even if I'm racing, it's good to have some form of communication. A trail race (especially the long ones) is not like a road marathon where, if you get hurt, there's lots of people and paramedics to help. In the trails you're on your own until you find someone. Carrying a cell phone can get you help sooner rather than later or make your hike when hurt shorter.  

Now, while I'll focus on these items to pack tomorrow, right now, I'm still focused on the weather, which is holding up just fine... except that it's getting hotter.  Please stay in the los 70s!! 


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