Tahoe Rim Trail 55k Preview

The day is almost here. Tomorrow I will be participating in my first “ultra” trail race. I use quotation marks because today we met several people who are running or pacing the 100 miler and it’s hard to feel justified claiming you are racing when the pacers will be running about as far you. Nonetheless it is an epic undertaking for me and I am really excited to test my limits in new ways.

We are starting at 7,000 feet and climb up above 10,0000 before descending down to about 6,000, only to have to climb back up again. I have never done more than about 3,000 feet of elevation gain in a single run at tomorrow I can expect about 8,000 feet over 34 miles. We start at 6 am so it will be cool at the start but the forecasted high temp is in the 80’s and if we finish around the time we are hoping for it will be at peak heat. The amount of time out on the trail is another factor that will be new for me. What all this boils down to is that I have spent a decent amount of time trying to figure out my gear and fueling approach.  

 1) BODY

Preventing sunburn and chafing are essential to having a good day on the trail. Nothing is worse than that burning sensation in your armpits or inner thighs that just gets worse the more you sweat. My favs are:

  • Nivea kids sunscreen (from Europe)  spf 30
  • Body glide anti chafing
  • Banana boat sunscreen Chapstick

2) FUEL

Keeping energy levels up and avoiding the bonk are the only way to make it through a 5-6 hour day. Injesting about 200 calories every 45 minutes to an hour is recommended but the best strategy is to test out what types of fuels and at what frequency works best for you. I am lucky that this race has sick aid stations and I plan to take in some real food when I can but my plan includes:

  • Honey stinger gels with caffeine
  • Honey stinger gummies
  • Cliff organic energy food (I have been known to eat the pizza margherita flavor for a snack)
  • Nuun hydration energy tablets

3) TECHNOLOGY

I am a tech geek when it comes to running. Tomorrow I plan to carry:

  • Garmin 910 xt watch
  • Garmin heart rate monitor
  • iPhone 6
  • Jaybird wireless headphones (just in case) 
  • Black diamond headlamp (just in case)

4) PACK

Small and lit is best for a running/ hydration pack but you also need to be able to carry enough water and fit the gear you want. My fav is the Nathan hydration pack with my 1 liter camelback bladder. With such great aid stations I won’t need to carry as much water. Many people prefer the hand held bottles to the backpack but after my experience with the handheld on a long training for Boston I am going to stick with the pack.

5) FOOTWEAR

Perhaps the most important thing I will be wearing tomorrow is my footwear. I’ve recently changed my tune regarding cushioning in trail shoes but again you need to test out different options and see what feels best. Lightweight wicking socks are the best way to prevent blisters and keep your feet comfy.

  • Salomon speed cross 3
  • Smart wool lightweight running socks

6) OUTFIT

Looking good is important when you are you pushing your body to new extremes. Ok, so maybe it’s the least important thing on this list but being comfortable is really important and it just so happens that my favorite brand is both stylish and comfortable. November project tagging is also essential.

  • Oiselle toolbelt roga shorts
  • Oiselle Verrazano bra
  • Oiselle go tank
  • Inside rail racing trucker hat
  • Oakley sunglasses
  • North face arm warmers

At this point I have done everything I can do except eat a bunch of pasta, watch the mighty ducks and get a good nights rest. So off to the dining room I go. 

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