Participating in ultras is tough for a lot of reasons. The old adage about trying things out ahead of time and not on race day is not always possible. While you may be able to try shoes, a water bottle or an outfit for a two or three hour run, you probably will not have the opportunity to try something out for eight, nine or ten hours. With that being said, I’m including brief, post-race reviews of my hydration vest, watch, shoes and nutrition.
Ultimate Direction AK Race Vest 2.0
I already did a full review of this vest. However, like I said above, running in something for nine hours is very different than running in something for one or two hours.
This vest is lightweight, and despite being a warm (for September) and humid day, I never ran out of fluids. I was also able to stash some gels in the back, and I stored my headlamp once it was light outside. The UD bottles have really grown on me, and now I prefer them to other bottles!
I had seen some reviews that said the bottles started to dig into your ribs after a while. Honestly, I disregarded these after the first time I tried the vest. However, it’s true! After a few hours, my ribs were starting to feel beat up, and I made little efforts to adjust the vest and make it more comfortable. It wasn’t a huge deal, but my ribs were a little bruised up by the time I finished. With that being said, it did not affect my race performance and I’m glad I was able to have fluids on-hand at all times.
Inov-8 Roclite 282 GTX Review
For my 50-miler in June, I wore Patagonia Everlongs, and I was not pleased with the way they held up. Sure, it was a rough course in June, but what ultra isn’t?
Anyhow, for Virgil Crest, I wore Inov-8 Roclite 282 GTX‘s. I wore these for the Green Lakes 50k also, and they were great in that race.
Mud? No problem. Hills? No problem. Creek crossings? No problem. Rocky downhills? No problem. You get the idea! These shoes kicked ass. Once again, I was extremely impressed with these. I will definitely be rocking them again at the Mendon Ponds 50k!
I will be doing a full review of this watch later in the week so stay tuned for that. I was a little reluctant to run an ultra with a new-to-me watch that I had only tested a few times. However, I decided late in the week that I would give it a try!
The GPS was very precise. I compared it to other GPS data, as well as the course map, and the measurements (time, distance and elevation) were great. The watch weighs very little and was hardly noticeable – and I say that in a good way!
I’ll get into this more with my review later in the week, but I don’t love the velcro strap. Other than that, no complaints!
I had a ProBar and a Picky Bar for breakfast and they didn’t give me any trouble. I managed to get down gels and orange slices throughout the entire race. In fact, at one aid station, I think I had about a dozen orange slices – oops! I was using a lot of water later in the race, as opposed to sugary drinks, but it wasn’t a huge deal since I was getting calories elsewhere.
I cringe when I think about how much sugar I put into my body on Saturday. With that being said, I didn’t bonk and my stomach was okay. I guess you can’t win them all!