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
- 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?
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!
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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…