I got a bunch of questions from a friend of mine that is going to make his first trip to Sylamore next weekend, and as I was answering them I realized it might make a great blog post. So here they are…
(1) What do you wear in this race? It’s a mix of cold and warm…plus I’ve heard about a portion that one runs through a creek!
Yes, there is a creek to cross. Twice. It can be waist deep or even deeper depending on what spot you cross at. The race is an out and back race, so you cross the creek twice. Once at 1.5 miles and then again at the end of the race. At the end of the race, however, it feels REALLY good because it’s usually freezing cold! The first year I ran, this was my first race longer than a Marathon and I stressed about that damn creek crossing for weeks. It drove me crazy. Once I got there though it really wasn’t that big of a deal. Get yourself some good socks (SmartWool, Swiftwick) and just cross the water. It’s not an issue. 5 miles later you will have forgotten about it.
(2) Race day nutrition? What do you eat for breakfast? I usually eat bacon and eggs for breakfast during the week. What do you eat during the race?
I eat meat, vegetables, nuts, seeds and some fruit regularly. I’m sort of Paleo I guess. I do have a tradition of eating pizza and beer the night before a big race. It’s just for fun though. It doesn’t mess my stomach up any, and it helps me relax and think about the next day. I would advise you to not try anything new the night before a race, and do not eat anything that would upset your stomach. One of the last things you want to happen at a race is stomach issues. So go easy. Bacon and Eggs are a great breakfast, but I don’t usually eat much before a race. If I do, it’s just a banana or something like that. Something very light with a few cups of coffee if I can get it. I eat a GU about 10-15 minutes before the race starts and then usually eat one every 5 miles or so during the run. The aid stations are pretty awesome at most Ultra Marathons, and this one is no exception. They are located around every 5 miles, and have just about every kind of junk food you can imagine. PB&J is my favorite with the occasional M&M. I also like getting some Chicken broth later in the race, but I also take S!Caps during the run.
(3) Hydration? There aren’t many water stations on the trail…do you pack water? How much do you bring?
Like I said, aid stations just about every 5 miles or so. I fill up my water bottle at every one of them. Usually alternating between Gatorade and Water. Sometimes I’ll do half water and half Gatorade. Later in the race, the sugary gatorade doesn’t taste so good so I like to dilute it.
(4) Pacing on a trail run? On a flatter surface this is almost a no-brainer, but with climbs and descents, do you have a different strategy?
If you are running your first trail run for any kind of distance on a technical trail like this one, I’d just make a plan to walk hills and run flats. So when you get to a hill, walk up it. When the ground is flat, run. This is a good strategy to save your legs a little bit, and let you see what you’ve gotten yourself into. I wouldn’t try to kill myself on my first long trail run. When you get one or two under your belt, then you can start working on race times. That’s my opinion anyway.
(5) What gear do you pack?
For a 50K with aid stations like this one, I travel pretty light. Shoes, change of clothes, sweatshirt, cooler with victory beer, water and maybe a Monster, gloves, socks, band aids, cash, water bottle, GU, S!Caps. That’s about it.
This is a great race, and I recommend everyone trying it at least once.