One early Saturday morning as I prepared for my 100 miler the adrenaline was pumping, everyone was excited but yet calm and stoic as they gathered gear. There were many with water bladders, every make and model and some without.
I remembered the preparation leading to this race, I did as I always do, tore apart pretty much everything I own having anything to do with running and laid it all out in my garage as not to miss a single item or possibly overlook something on my inventory check list.
My bladder pack was a double pocketed pack with the ability to expand even deeper if need be; so I began my preparations selecting the essentials first, my salt, blister kits, caloric requirements (gels and what nots). By the time I had completed my pack was full, I had packed the essentials the secondary and tertiary’s and ….not sure what the name is for the 4th in order…anyway, packed it all.
In hindsight my sons lucky he wasn’t there with me or I probably would’ve packed him too……
So here I was at the start line ready to go… and with a countdown we were off!.. Jump ahead to 50 miles, weighed down and getting tired I had decided to drop the whole pack and continue on with my pacer and two handhelds, best decision ever….I felt like I had new life and continued on happily, not needing any survival gear, ponchos, compass or anything else that I might’ve thrown in there……. Lessons learned here are what makes this sport so interesting, its those that can learn from experiences, change what didnt work and try again that are successfull.
So here you are wondering what you should take to your next race… These are my forged by fire thoughts…
• I recommend a runners bladder pack (not hikers).. such as “Nathan”, this will prevent you from being able to pack anything and everything…. As I ran along at mile 40, my buddy Bill Ramsey ran with me for a bit, “get a pack like mine” he said… “Water, salt and a few gels is all you need” he’s right. With aid stations every 6-7 miles on average…two handhelds will last about hours…. Conserve water when needed to get through rough patches yes….over pack and carry to much weight for distance…no.
• Distance is a good factor for determining pack or no pack requirements….. but when I run 100, I “pack it”, but light…. I’ve got a friend “David” that runs with a bladder pack unfilled – used to store his necessities only… he carries water bottles to transport water and will use the pack only as backup…..not a bad idea.
• Usually a 50 miler and anything less can be done with only bottles –( recommend a full carry of two bottles for anything 50k and up), carrying your salt and such in the pouches as well as some TP (you never know) which I usually baggie and flatten to store between the pouch and bottle itself to save space in the pouch compartment should be plenty between aid stations.
These are my suggestions, and might not be suited for your running, but you never know...you might be looking at a fully stuffed Bladder pack right now and wondering...hmm maybe I'm overprepared.
It’s always a comforting feeling to carry everything you need for every situation but remember that unless your run is unsupported, your covered in most cases. Just make sure that you research your next run to ensure proper preparations…… and just run.
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