Thursday, February 14, 2008

Last Minute Preparations

I’m leaving work early tomorrow to head up to Appomattox, VA for the 2008 Holiday Lake 50k++ (34 miles). It’s my first ultra-distance run of the year. My last ultra was in early December (a good run at the Hellgate 100k). Unlike Hellgate, I have not prepared specifically for this race. I didn’t even decide to do this one until just a few weeks ago. I’ve been sick with the flu for the past week, and my training… well let’s just say I won’t be peaking anytime soon. I have not packed a thing, and up until now, have not even given much thought as to what I need to pack.

“Why are you at work?” asks a friend of mine who’s run a couple marathons over the years. “Why aren’t you at home? Packing, or sleeping?”

“It’s just another race,” I think to myself. I don’t say that out loud for fear of sounding snobbish. Or crazy. 50-kilometers. Plus plus a few miles. Probably a good 6 hours of running. It is no easy task. And although I might seem to be taking it lightly, I am not. Sure I haven’t run long for quite a while, and I just decided to do this race a few weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean I have not been training. I’ve been preparing for this race and others since I started distance running almost 20 years ago.

Since 2001 I’ve run somewhere between 10 and 15 organized races each year (not many compared to some of my ultra friends). But I do manage to run enough to stay in “ultra shape” pretty much year round. Even if I go through a period of weeks without running long, I can still get up on a Saturday morning and plod through 20-30 miles. This readiness comes from years of ultra distance training. The body and mind adapt. They get to the point where they are ready to go. Anytime.

My last ultra was two months ago. I trained hard for that one so I’m coming off a good level of fitness. My longest run between then and now was 17 miles. I’ve averaged less than 30 miles per week. Does that mean that I am not trained for the 50k++? Not really. It means I am not as prepared as I could be. I’m not trained to run a PR. But barring injury, I will handle the 50k (and the ++). It’s not the smartest way to do it. But most of the time, it works.

Okay, so now it is time to make a checklist and pack. I’m spending the night in my car after the pre-race dinner. The forecast is for temps near 30-degrees at night, upper 40s during the day. I like to make the list in the order that I will need the items. I also group things in categories. It makes more sense to me that way. Here we go.

Directions to start

Copies of Running Through the Wall for sale

Sleeping pad and bag
Long pants and long sleeve shirt for sleeping
Fleece cap
MP3 player (change battery)

2 20oz bottles and Ultimate Direction FastDraw
1 gallon jug of water
Sports drink mix
Fruit for pre-run breakfast
Clif Shot Bloks

Running shorts
Socks (extra pair)
Shirt (long and short sleeve)
Light jacket (I won’t use it)
Shoes (extra pair)


GPS watch

Ibuprofen (just in case)
Anti-diarrhea medicine (just in case – I learned this lesson the hard way once)
Toilet paper in plastic bag (Be prepared)
Body lube (don’t want too much chaffing down there)

Soap for post-run shower

Change of clothes for driving home

That's all...


Wags said...

Thanks for the list! I'm a somewhat nervous Holiday Lake 1st-timer and it's good to see that I haven't forgotten anything.

Good luck on Saturday!

Neal Jamison said...

Thanks Wags. Don't forget gloves! (I'm updating the list).

jay said...

hey neal,
neat to see you have a blog. i am going to enjoy reading it. it will be good to see you at holiday lake. since you are not in top shape, maybe i will be in the same time zone as you. remember to sign up for the beast series tomorrow night before the price goes up.