Monday, July 1, 2019

How to pack for an Ultra Run: My 12 Hour Ultra Packing List

When I finally came to realization that I had indeed signed up for another ultra marathon, I think I had actually been in denial for a while, I decided I needed to do some more research so that I could equip myself with all the tools I would possibly need for the event. 


I had signed up for the Black Mountain Monster 12 Hour Endurance Run, after two failed attempts at a local 50K, in my third and possibly final attempt to get the 50K under my belt! 


For the past two attempts I kind of went in to the race as if it was a marathon. Ultra-running is different than a marathon... 


This race was a looped course of 3.125 miles. I grilled my friend Kim all about last year’s race. She and I had both signed up to run it last year but last minute they had to delay the race due to the weather and so I had to defer to this year. She did the 6 Hr. race and knew the course and could give me the inside scoop specific to that event. Since I deferred I switched my race to the 12 Hour to be sure I had all the time I would need to get to 50K. 


I also started to read all the blog posts I could find about endurance events and looped courses. I came across several versions of packing lists but I could not find one that was all inclusive so I made my own! 


Truth is I packed way more than I actually needed but I am so glad I did. At any time I could have needed any number of the things I packed. Having all of my gear there gave me a sense of security and as I shared in my race recap I absolutely loved being on a looped course!



The first thing I packed was several changes of clothes. I wasn't sure if I'd get supper sweaty and need a fresh change or if I would get cold and need something to keep me warm. I wasn't sure if I'd get hot in tall over the calf compression socks or would they get soaked in the rain and feel heavy? If I just got wet would I want to change, would I want a rain jacket if it poured the rain? If my shoes got muddy I might want to change into another pair, or if my feet got tired I'd want to change. I felt sure I would want to change after the race into something dry. In addition to what I had planned to wear for the race I packed a pair of running capris, a long sleeved shirt, a pull over hoodie, a running rain jacket, two other Skirt Sports Skirts, another tank top, second sports bra, a t-shirt, another pair of my running shoes, two changes of Crazy Compression Socks, one tall one short, two Buffs, a pair of gloves (??? not sure what I was thinking lol!!!) and my Oofos. I also packed two small beach towels. I rolled everything up and packed it all into my dry bag that I use for Kayaking. The one thing I needed and forgot was to pack a few plastic disposable grocery bags to put any wet clothes in. 


Something I found to be extremely efficient when packing for a race, to help ensure I don't forget something, in addition to having a list, is to lay out the outfit you are packing (if you do a flat me pic you are doing this anyway), then place all the items in one stack and roll the outfit up together and tada, you are ready to go! 

These pics are from the Asheville Marathon (I refused to do a flat me for this race.... Superstitious!!) 







For the rest of my gear I used the Rubbermaid Brilliance containers. My husband used to work for Rubbermaid so we have an abundance of these and they were PERFECT. Clear so I can easily see which one I need and gasketed to keep them water tight! The torrential down pour that was this event really put them to the test! 




For Hydration I took a case of bottled water, I knew they would also have water but I wanted to be able to fill up my bottles and mix with my Nuun. I took two handheld bottles and kept them full with half Nuun Sport with Caffeine and half just regular Nuun Sport. I also took several cans of coke. I had all my electrolytes in one container. My waters and cokes I took in our big Yeti Hopper. I didn't take ice. I was carrying everything myself to the start so I was trying my best to keep the weight down. I also don't usually drink things super cold so I didn’t really need the ice. Kim and John had ice in there cooler if needed. I listed my hydration vest on the list but did not take it after all. The handhelds were perfect for the looped course. I just switched them out every other lap and used the water on the course to re-fill in between as needed. The Coke was nice around lunch time and supper time. I liked the fizz honestly. My belly did get a little upset a time or two and the bubbles from the coke helped me burp and then I felt a bit better. 



For Fuel I took enough grub with me in case I got somehow stranded in tent city for weeks lol! Truth is though I didn't know how my belly was going to do so I wanted to make sure I had something for however I was feeling. I took ten GU Gels, ten Honey Stinger Waffles, four packs of Sport Beans, Oatmeal Pies, Pay Days, Salt Stick tabs, and my all-time favorite Tortillas with Nutella!! I spread Nutella on the tortilla and then roll them up and slice into small pinwheels and keep in a zip lock. I put Bananas on the list but didn't take them. I also had a small container of peppermint candies in case my tummy got a little upset. My stomach did get upset and I felt crampy for a couple of loops and it was pretty bad by around mile 13. Kim had some dōTERRA Digest Zen and I took that once when my stomach was really cramping. It was miraculous how well that worked! I am buying some of that stuff for sure! It was like within and instant my stomach cramps were gone! They never came back either the rest of the night. 





At the race I had a GU to start, after each two laps I would come back to our tent, eat something, I alternated between the Honey Stinger Waffle and my Nutella Tortillas, and I'd grab a GU to have on the go for the next lap. I repeated this process the entire race. At lunch time I had a small Cheese Quesadilla from the race aid station and at dinner time I had a slice of Pizza that my friend Nikki's husband brought. 





I would not change a thing about how I fueled and hydrated. I essentially got in 100 calories of fuel every 45 minutes along with about 12 oz. of fluids Nuun Mix and a little regular water. 


I made my own first aid containers too. I took A&D Ointment, Aleve, Anti Monkey Butt (I haven't really used this much so I'm not sure I'd take this again), Band-Aids, Bio-Freeze, Blister Pack, Body Glide, Bug Spray, Contacts, Deodorant, Duct Tape, Emergency Blanket, Foam Roller (left it in my car), Foot Roller, Hand Sanitizer, Ibuprofen, Imodium, KT Tape, Lip Balm, Moleskin, Pepto, Safety Pins, Squirrels Nut Butter, Sunscreen, Tampons, Toilet Paper, and Tums. 



Of all of these first aid things I took I only used the Bug Spray, Lip Balm and Squirrels Nut Butter. Better safe than sorry!! 


At about mile 20 I started to feel some chaffing under my sports bra so I re-applied the squirrels nut butter to all my chaffey parts. I ended up with one chaffed line around my rib cage from my sports bra. This is typical for me so I expected it. It wasn't as bad as it is in other races so I was pretty happy.  


I had another container for my lights. It would get dark in the 12 Hours so I took Knuckle Lights, my Nathan Luna Fire Chest Light, a small lantern for at the table, a head lamp, matches (I mean you just never know lol) and extra batteries. I used my Nathan Luna Fire and it was incredible! Perfect for this race! 




I also packed my Aftershokz, a battery backup for my phone, Sunglasses, Go Pro, and extra zip lock bags, none of which I used. It rained so much I kept my phone off and in a baggie in my pocket. There were so many people to chat with I never needed my music and it sure wasn't sunny lol! Again I am glad I had all this with me just in case. 


Better to have everything you may need and not use than need everything you don't have!  


I packed all my containers and stuff into my Patagonia Black Hole Back Pack. This pack is also weather proof and held all my containers perfectly! 


Luckily Kim and John took the tent, pop up tent, camp table and cooler with ice. Had I gone solo I would have also needed those things. I did take a camp chair but I never sat down after I started running. It was good though for when my daughter and husband came. 





The one thing I would do differently is have a dedicated container for my car key. After my 12 hours of running I was so out of sorts I could not recall where in the world I put my key!! I found it but it took my digging several times through all my things in the dark to FINALLY remember I had put it in my rain jacket pocket so I wouldn’t forget (palm face plant lol). 


My packing list I'm sure will be tweaked throughout the years as I do more and more of these type events but I really felt like I had everything I could have possibly needed. 



It really was a HUGE help to me being this organized for the race! I hope it is as helpful for you in your next big event!

Best wishes on your upcoming adventure!!

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