My previous post and the comments that I received (thank you everyone who commented which makes this whole blogging thing so much more fun) got me to thinking. Kit is one thing, but what about the other things? Like what would I do differently or what went well? I am not an expert. I have only run one marathon before and this was my first ultra marathon but isn’t that the point of sharing? And if anyone has any suggestions or questions I would love to read them.
First and foremost, if I ever did the Ultra Trail Harricana again no matter what distance, TREKKING POLES. Must. Bring. Poles. I’m not going to lie: there were a few times when I watched some folks blast by me with arms a pumping as they seemed to fly up hills while I gasped behind them and I considered grabbing tree branches to help get up those hills. That was after I fought the urge to trip them and steal their poles. I’m kidding of course…that might break the poles. Heehee.
I don’t know if anyone ever feels that they’ve trained enough. I mean, you can train but there’s always that question of “could I have done more?” Well I could have and should have done more so that is definitely something to keep in mind. Having said that, I now know that I can cover the distance over some pretty rough terrain with less than ideal training so it gives a gauge for future training.
I’m glad that I had a tiny tub of Vaseline which helped to avoid chafing in the…shall we say…nether bits. Awwww heck we’re all friends here. I was able to avoid butt chafing with a coating of Vaseline. I had Bodyglided all of the major contact points of my bra and the inside of my thighs but I did not want to try and navigate a big stick in that hard to reach area, not to mention the fact that I wouldn’t want to use it anywhere else.
I would bring less supplemental food. The rules dictated that food be brought but no quantity was given. I did snack on a few almond-stuffed dates but not as many as I had brought. And I did not need the pouches of baby food that I had brought.
I also brought too much of my sport drink. The biggest problem when estimating how much to bring was that I had been training in ridiculous heat so I was guzzling that stuff back and ran out of fluids on my longer runs. Being as slow as I am, there were often long stretches between aid stations. I’m not upset that I was carting around extra weight as I would rather have it than not. I also had a little bit of water in my bladder but kept it less than half full and used it just to change up from the drink. I took most of my water from the aid stations but I was glad that I had water with me.
I liked my soft flasks that sat in the front pockets of my vest but the mouth is so small that they are a bit difficult to fill. If I had a funnel then it wouldn’t be an issue but who carries funnels with them? The other option is to look for different carrying devices, perhaps smaller bags or straws or something. The folks at the aid stations were great and helped me fill the flasks without dusting everyone with powder.
Speaking of aid stations: these were amazing! I’ve heard that the food at ultras is something to behold but wow. When I ran in, I put back at least a cup of water and usually a cup of Pepsi. However when they say the Pepsi is flat, it’s not. It was usually a bit bubbly but the bubbles quickly escaped once the running started again. Fortunately it was flat enough not to cause discomfort. I did break the “Nothing new on race day” rule and had gnocchi and chicken broth. Who runs with gnocchi anyway? When I looked at the food in the tray and went “yeah I want THAT” I figured it was my body telling me it needed something. No food or tummy issues but I’ve never really had bad problems so I wasn’t too concerned as anything different was eaten in moderation.
I’m REALLY glad that I had a friend waiting for me at the end. She stuck it out for hours but as I was running into the chute and all I could see were silhouettes of people, I could hear her voice yelling at me to “Run”. Well I was running for sure but having her watching out for me (and grabbing me a beer) really helped since my brain was a little foggy at the end.
I wish that I had spent more time stretching and rolling my legs by the time we got to the room. There’s a yoga series I follow, Yoga with Adriene, and she has a runners cool-down that I try to do after my longer runs. Well 80 kilometres does qualify as a long run but by the time we had walked back to the room, I was pretty baked. I’m happy with the walk from the bus to our B & B since I think that did help loosen then old legs up. Although I may have given that too much credit and should have stretched more.
Lastly, I would have liked to not have to drive home the following day. I think a bit more recovery time would have been in order although I am glad that we stopped as often as we did.
Wait. One more thing…SIGN UP AGAIN. Yup you read that right. Even with the pain and discomfort and the fact that my time was so out of whack with what I had planned, I would do it again. I am hooked.