Preparing For My First 50 Mile UltraMarathon

It’s hard to believe that Lake Sonoma 50, my first 50 mile ultramarathon is less than a week away! The closer it gets, the harder is for me to reconcile that I’m going to be toeing the line to run 50 miles. The Lake Sonoma 50 is an out-and-back with over ~10,000 ft elevation gain (and equal amount of loss). That’s almost a 2-mile vertical elevation gain/loss over the course of 50 miles! Yes, I wrote some code to analyze the elevation profile, but there’s code and there’s the reality. Definitely getting butterflies as the race day approaches and explains my pouring over the course multiple times during the day.

Lake Sonoma 50 - My First 50  Mile Ultra Marathon

First 50 Mile UltraMarathon

Just a week ago, I ran 34 miles on the spectacular Coastal Marin 50K and it took me about 7:23 which included lots of resting, waiting for people to regroup and socializing. Lake Sonoma 50 has another 16 more miles to go with another ~5K worth of elevation gain/loss. Compared to this the American River 50 looks tame (elevation gain wise). The three climbs right at the turn around are probably the killer ones  – about ~500, ~800 and ~600ft each. Everyone that blogs about it talks about how relentless the hills are. There are over 50 up and downs on this run with varying grades!

Here’s my gear + food prep that I’ve thought about. Have no idea how this is going to play out during the race. At this point though, I’m not even thinking about this as a race. Just a run that I would like to finish without injuries (or throwing up!) while still smiling as I cross the finish line. Here’s what I plan to carry with me from the start line:

At the mile #25 aid-station (also the turn around point), I plan to leave these in my drop bag:

  • 10+ Clif Shot Gels for the return trip
  • Leukotape + scissors to re-tape my feet to prevent blisters
  • Sunscreen, ‘cos it’s going to be a 80°F day
  • Vaseline
  • Body glide anti-chaff balm
  • Instructions-to-self in case I have a brain fart and get delirious

In the drop bag at the mile #38 aid station (home stretch!):

  • Petzl Tikka 2 LED head lamp (sunset is at 7:41pm, ~13 hours into the run)
  • Additional Clif Shot Gels?
  • Maybe iPod for music? (though I’ve never listened to music during a run)

I think I’ve got my food + hydration down for the 50K’s. First 50 mile though? Still a bit of a mystery, uhh, adventure. Just don’t know what to anticipate and what curve balls my mind/body is going to throw at me. But after running 34 miles last week, another 16 should be doable, right? RIGHT?

How did you do on your first 50 mile ultra marathon? What am I missing in my gear checklist?

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