I am a little scared for my race next weekend. I would like to say all of my training has led to this race, but I have not put in as many miles as I know I should have. But alas the time has come for my Mountain Masochist 50 mile trail ultra. This will be my first ultra, so I have decided to write a post going over my pre-race thoughts. I will also be writing a post race article, so stay tuned for that.
I am not fully unprepared, as I consider myself a pretty solid runner on both roads and trails. I have completed 4 road marathons, ran countless short 5k/10k races, and have been running for the past 15 years. Over the last few years I have also put in some heavy milage hiking on the Appalachian Trail. In 2013 I completed 466 miles in 26 days, averaging 20 mile days and ending it on a 26 mile hike into Damascus VA. For this ultra I am attempting to consider it a fast hike, cramming in a ton miles before the end of the day. The cut off for the race is 12 hours and has a tough second half. Anybody on pace to miss the cut off half way though will be told to get off the course. For a race this long, most runners balance things out by hiking the climbs and running the flats & downs, so I will be doing exactly that. I have played around testing out which gear to run in and even figured out what I can eat while running long distances. As of now it will quite chilly in the morning and possible rainy throughout the day so I have to take that into account. I will not have a support crew, but the race has plenty of food/water stops and will even have a bag drop half way through the race, so thats one less thing I have to worry about.
I plan on starting in shorts, short sleeves, light rain/wind jacket, headlamp and my older New Balance 110 trail shoes. I will be carrying a hand strapped 22 oz water bottle, with trail mix and Gu’s for quick snacks, refilling it as necessary. I plan on eating mostly solid foods like nuts, pretzels and maybe peanut butter if I see it. Gu’s and Honey Stinger gel will be helpful as well, but I will try and limit my intake in the beginning. Once I get deep into the race I will probably grab whatever I can. My drop bag will likely have my Brooks Cascadia 10 trail shoes, a full change of running clothes, Glide, food refill, my down jacket and other clothing for post race. I was debating on which trail shoes to run in, as I recently picked up a pair of Nike Terra Kiger 3’s for this exact race but my toes have been feeling cramped after higher milage. So I am running in what I am comfortable in and bringing my primary hikers as my backup trail shoes. The Cascadia’s line have been great trail shoes of mine for the past 8 years, so I know they will do me well. I will be using a ton of Glide, but was also told to use Vaseline on my feet. The Vaseline would act as a water repellant for the feet, preventing the skin from breaking down due to moisture over the high milage. With a creek crossing early on this will prove very useful. I will likely test the Vaseline trick out this week down near Reedy Creek, where there are a couple water crossings.
The race starts at 530 am with packet hand out 4pm-8pm the night before. So I will be staying in a hotel in Lynchburg both before the race and the night after. There will be a bus taking us from a meet up in Lynchburg to the start. The bus will also be bringing our drop bags to the half way point and finish line, as well as taking us back to Lynchburg.
Wish me luck