What I Wore, Packed, Ate, and Carried at My First Ultramarathon


Last weekend, I ran the Ultimate Direction Dirty 30, a 50k race in Colorado.  Read about it here.  As promised, this post is all about those pesky logistics of ultrarunning:  what to carry, what to pack in a drop bag, what to eat at aid stations.  These are things I’d never given much thought to during a road marathon, and they seriously stressed me a little bit for the ultra.  I think I did a pretty good job packing and eating, so here we go…

What I Ate the Day Before

  • Natural food store version of Golden Grahams with unsweetened almondmilk
  • Indian takeout — rice, naan, saag masala (medium spicy), dal makhani
    • Some might have thought this was risky, but I live on the edge.  And it just sounded good to me at the time.
  • Nuun Active

What I Ate the Morning of

  • A gingerbread Stinger Waffle
  • A Probar caffeinated peanut butter packet
  • A banana
    • I maybe should have eaten more — toast or oatmeal or something, but I was at an Airbnb so I was trying to avoid using the kitchen and to be quick

What I Wore for the Race

  • Altra Superior running shoes
  • Feetures running socks
  • 2Toms lubricating roll-on on my feet, armpits, and other chafe-prone spots
  • Nike spandex running shorts
  • Lululemon racerback tank top
  • Freedom’s Run long-sleeve tech tee
    • I tied this around waist from mile 5ish to 17.5, then left it in my drop bag at Aid 3
  • Garden Goddess mineral sunscreen stick on face and shoulders
  • Rock Creek Runner hat
  • Race bib
  • Apple Watch

What I Carried for the Race

  • Nathan Intensity hydration pack with water bladder
    • This does has a bladder rather than bottles and doesn’t have a ton of space up front for food and essentials, so I just got a new UD Jenny pack that I am looking forward to trying out.  I stuck with this tried-and-true one for my race
  • Tropical Punch Clif Bloks, 2 Stinger Waffles, 3 Huma gels, 1 Salted Caramel Gu
    • I ended up eating all of these except one Huma gel and the Gu
  • Salt tablets
    • Did not use these but maybe should have.  I’ve never used them before so I was nervous about how they’d make me feel.  Something to try on a long training run.
  • Empty plastic baggie for used gel packets
    • Leave No Trace!
  • Extra pair of socks
    • Just in case; did not use
  • Goddess Garden sunscreen stick
    • Applied at mile 18 during a sunny climb
  • Plastic baggie with Aleve, antacids, and Pepto — just in case!
    • Luckily I did not need any of this
  • iPhone 6, for Strava-ing

What I Put in My Drop Bag (A Nike Drawstring Cleat Bag) (17.5 miles, Aid 3)

  • Extra pair of trail shoes (Merrell)
    • Did not use, but my plan was to switch into these if I was having serious blister issues or if my Altras were wet.  Other folks I spoke to didn’t bring extra shoes for a 50K but I figured I’d bring them since I had the option.
  • Extra pair of socks
    • Swapped these in at Aid 3
  • Baby wipes
    • Ended up using these after the race to wipe off my salt-crusted face
  • Blister kit (nu-skin, foam, adhesive pads)
    • Used this at Aid 3 and ended up putting it in my pack for the rest of the race, just in case
  • KT Tape
    • Did not use
  • 2Toms lubricating roll-on
    • Ended up not needing to re-apply after first application in the morning

What I Ate During the Race

  • Aid 1: 1/3 banana
    • I wasn’t hungry but I felt like I should try to eat something.  I told the aid station volunteers “This is my first ever aid station!  Is this how this works?” and they assured me I was doing it right
  • I also ate a Stinger Waffle and my Clif Bloks early in the race
  • Aid 2: handful of potato chips, slice of watermelon
    • Chips were the #1 thing I was interested in at most of the aid stations
  • I also ate 2 Huma gels in the middle of the race
  • Aid 3: refill water, a little boiled potato, potato chips, 1/4 PB sandwich,  picked up V Fuel and M&Ms but didn’t end up eating them
  • I tried to eat the second Stinger Waffle somewhere between Aid 3 and Aid 4.  I ate most of it but couldn’t finish the last bite.
  • Aid 4: refill water, popsicle, potato chips, Coke
  • Aid 5: none — almost done!

What I Put in My Finish Bag (My Osprey Stratos 24 Pack)

  • Fresh clothes and the pants I wore in the morning before the start when it was cold
    • So, so essential to have clean, dry clothes!
  • Gallon-size plastic bag for dirty clothes
    • Save your pack and other goodies from the grossness!
  • Rain coat — just in case
  • Vegan Birkenstock sandals
    • Best purchase of 2017 so far
  • Wallet with cash
  • Ravpower portable charger
    • Phone had 10% battery after almost 9.5 hours of Strava-ing
  • Fork and plate for post-race party
    • When I say “plate,” I mean an empty plastic kale chip clamshell
  • Sunglasses
  • Car keys

What I Ate Post-Race

I was not hungry for real food at the finish line, so I just had a few slices of watermelon.  I was really thirsty but plain water sounded gross, and I didn’t want any more sugar.   After I was “home” and showered, I went out to pick up a few bottles of sparkling water, which made my stomach feel a ton better.  I also ate my leftover Indian food and, later in the evening, a McDougall’s vegan miso ramen soup cup.  I probably should have had some protein, but I was really just focused on what sounded good to my tender belly.

What do you pack and eat for a marathon or ultramarathon?  Do you have an essential piece of gear or apparel for when you race?  What else should I try for my next one, the Mt. Hood 50k, in just one month?

3 thoughts on “What I Wore, Packed, Ate, and Carried at My First Ultramarathon

  1. Girl, I totally hear you on the Indian food pre-race! It’s carb-heavy, often without a ton of troubling fiber, and delicious. People always think it’s crazy, but I think you’re smart. Nice job!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Big News! Also, A Week and a Half Until Mt. Hood 50K | athlettuce

  3. Congrats on the race!

    Gearing up for my first 50k in October. Thanks for this! I’ve heard our bodies can’t use sugars as well for fuel past a certain point (30k or so) which is when proteins become important – have you experienced that at all? Starting to toy with fuelling as my training distances get longer…


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s