Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Final Prep and pulling the kit together

You may, or may not be interested in my kit list and plan for the Yomp, but I’m going to write it anyway.  You can at least get an idea of my (possibly deluded or twisted) thinking pattern.

Starting with the minimum kit, this is an official fell race, so that means official fell race kit.  In practice, that means that regardless of weather conditions on the day, I’m supposed to carry a full set of waterproofs, a local map (specified in the entry conditions), a whistle, compass, emergency food and suitable additional clothing, and the organisers can stop you any time out on the course if they like, to inspect your kit.  Last year, they cost one guy a PB as he’d just dibbed his timing chip at the start and they asked to look in his bag.   Overall weight of that stuff, bugger all.

So what else will I carry? Food yes, water no.  This race is great in that navigation is super easy, you follow a line of poles stuck in the ground no more than 50 yards apart; why a map is required is beyond me.  The other thing they do is have water stations every 3-5km or so, so all I’ll carry in that respect is one 500ml bottle of concentrated Nuun for electrolytes, maybe 3 tabs in that one bottle, to sip as I go in addition to water.

The key thing behind the overall strategy is the balance between the water stations, the nutrition and the blood testing.  Normally I test every 5km on the longer runs, but on this occasion I will vary it somewhat for a number of reasons
  • The frequent water stops are a good point to test, eat, drink
  • There is a lot of uphill in this race, which means a lot of walking; why slow to a walk to test in addition to that?
  • I have no idea how this race will affect me this time round with the mix of terrain and paces
So the plan in that case will be
  • Test every 5km, unless
  • There is an uphill section in view in which case I’ll wait and test when I’m walking anyway, unless
  • There is a water station in view, then I’ll test there and eat and drink in one go
The nutrition plan
  • 1 x 500ml bottle of nuun for electrolytes, concentrated, 3 tabs in the bottle, carrying some extras to refill if necessary
  • Water at the water stations for hydration
  • Allow 50g carb per hour, working on 4.5 hrs with a bit extra.  Made up of gels at 20 or 30g carb each and NAKD bars at 20g per small one, 35g per large one.  Using NAKD bars rather than plain dates as they are better packaged for a shorter race, also contain some protein in the form of nuts or soya.  I may also carry some 9-bars, but they tend to work out too low GI and energy density to help on the run for me, but maybe good for recovery and later race where I’m more dependent on fat reserves. 
  • Test as above, eat to the meter, eat every test unless the BG reading is above 7.0, typically 20-30g carbs each time.  

Luckily I have a support crew for this race in the shape of my parents, who live in the area, so no need to carry everything.  The plan is to carry half plus a reserve of my calories, and they will meet me at the road accessible mid way point with a goodie bag.

Teh Hi-5 is for immediate post race recovery when my body will want to be sucking in as many carbs as possible, the malt loaf and biscuits are for on the way home to manage the post race drop.

Other kit starting at the bottom;
  • Shoes – Inov-8 X-Talon 180as the weather in the week leading up to the race is pretty much awful, and given that one area you run through is called the Hags, that gives an idea of the general bogginess.  Other shoes just won’t cut it for the grip levels.
  • Socks – Injinji, trail weight.  Toes will be taped for blister prevention before.  Last year my feet were wet for about 34 of 37km.  Pre taping means not carrying tape in my pack.  I’ll also have my gaiters, but they are more for preventing stuff going in the top.  They have no waterproofing function whatsoever, and the shoes are an open mesh.
  • Legs - 2XU calf compression sleeves really make a difference in preventing fatigue and improving recovery. If I’d had time I could have run again on Monday after wearing those last Sunday for 34km. I’ll also have my new Skins compression shorts, and if I can convince myself I’m not too self-conscious at having my bollocks on display, that will be all, but my shirt should hide it all.  Maybe a pair of running shorts over the top.
  • Vest – advertising JDRF, the whole point of doing it, although the logos may get hidden, so I’ll probably wear a normal comfy Salomon shirt I favour and do something funky with the vest as a banner
  • My trusty old Texas Longhorns ball cap, to keep both the sun and the rain off.  I can’t run in shades, I find they bounce around too much and when you have a prescription that throws things off.
  • The Camelback – bladder removed as unnecessary due to the water stops.  Used to carry map Nuun bottle, carb supplies, BG tester, waterproofs etc.  I’ll have to weigh it before I go.

 Drug strategy
  • Insulin – 0.5 unit bolus with a big breakfast, 1 unit basal
  • Aspirin or Ibuprofen x 2 as a preventative
  • Maybe a loperamide pill – there’s nowhere to go out there.
From that point on, when the hooter goes, it’s all down to training and a bit of luck on the day and a PMA.


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