Sunday, January 17, 2010
The Brazil 135 Mile Ultramarathon will surely be a challenge and an adventure. There is no doubt about that. I spent a good 30 minutes on the phone yesterday with Jarom discussing final packing preparations. Jarom has run the Brazil 135 twice (both times solo!), and has plenty of insight into the adventure that lies ahead. He basically sums it up by saying, "prepare to be soaking wet....the entire time." Between the heat/humidity and the rain, there will be very little "dry" time.
I have also had plenty of communications with the race directors, Mario and Eliana. They are absolutely fantastic, and have set up just about everything we might need while in Brazil, from crew members/drivers to hotels. Traveling to a foreign country for a 135 mile race is stressful enough, but Mario and Eliana have really helped to put all of us coming from the United States at ease. Every single e-mail sent to them is answered within hours. Every single worry or concern is alleviated. They are simply amazing and really put every ounce of effort into trying to make this event memorable.
As challenging as this run will be, there is a pre-race challenge - packing. It is hard enough trying to figure out what to lug to another country for a 135 mile run, and even harder to squeeze it all in to as little space as possible (I abhor traveling with too much luggage). So, I have tried to keep it to a minimum, and stick to the items that have worked for me (fuel-wise) since receiving the expert advice of Meredith Terranova. Here's a quick look at some of the items I'm taking with me (so far, and not including clothing; you can click on either picture for a close-up view):
Above we have, nicely packaged in zip-lock bags, some fueling goodies and night gear. Counter-clockwise (from the top, right) is Perpetuem by Hammer Nutrition (25 single-serving packets), about 35 gels (both Gu Roctane and strawberry-banana Gu Energy Gel). I will typically mix the Perpetuem and gels into a water bottle. Next is a zip-lock with some solids - Cliff Shot Bloks and Honey Stinger Energy Bars. I will shift to some solid foods to supplement more towards the evening hours. In the last two 100-milers I stuck to liquid nutrition only for the first 60-70 miles, followed by some solid foods, and that has worked very well. Lastly (bottom right) is a bag of night gear (flashlights, headlamps, batteries and reflective vests).
Going clockwise from the top, right this time, two very important small bags containing Gin Gins Ginger Chews (great if you have any stomach issues) and Stay Alert Caffeine Chewing Gum (which gives you a nice little boost). You can't go to Brazil and run in the jungle without bug spray, so a can of Off Insect Repellent is a must. You have to carry your own fluids out there, so I've packed two options, hand held bottels (Nathan Quickdraw Elite and a Javelina Jundred bottle with the Nathan Quickdraw Plus holder. Last, but perhaps most important, my medical/foot care kit, with all sorts of stuff including Sportslick Skin Lubricant, Tylenol, bandages, 3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent 12-Hour Lotion, Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Bio-Relief Topical Cream, scissors, clippers, and Tincture of Benzoin ampules.
On the training front, with the Disney half and full marathons a week in the past, I had planned on short, easy trail runs this weekend, seriously hoping to keep the pace to a maximum of 10:00 min/mile. Of course, I made the mistake of running on Saturday with well-rested and well-trained Eric and Peter L, and today with 3:02 marathoner Aaron. On both days we ran the same 8-mile hilly course at Rockies. Saturday was a tad too fast, at 1:14 (9:15 pace), so today with Aaron I had hoped we'd be slower. Oh well, so much for that. Same course in 1:09 (8:37 pace). I really need to work on that thing called "tapering". Next stop, São Paulo, Brazil.