After doing the Ridge Run more than a few times (17), I’ve got enough experience to know what works for me and what doesn’t. In 2013, I had zero problems with shoes, clothing, fuel, gear etc.
The intention of doing this blog post is that perhaps others can benefit and learn from the details of my gear or “Kit” that served me well in the 2013 Ridge Run. If anyone is interesting in procuring and working with similar stuff, below are the details.
(The word Kit is quite general, but I have seen it used more and more to describe and label the equipment one carries in a trail run. Thank our Euro brethren for the word Kit.)
My foot gear is a bit more complex than most runners. And it is certainly a bit heavier at 14.5oz total per foot. Those drawbacks are a low penalty to pay for a setup that is comfy and bomb proof protective. Thanks to my foot gear, the 2013 race left me with happy comfy feet. No blisters, no bruised toes, no black toe nails, no sprained ankles, perfect!
- Nike Air Zoom Trail Shoes
- Light Soft Orthotic Insole
- Thin Insole with Metatarsal Pad Taped On
- Aircast A60 Ankle Braces
- Oxy Socks
It is a bummer that the Nike Air Zoom Trail shoes are no longer available. For several years now, I’ve been desperately trying to find an alternative. So far, every shoe I try just falls short. Anybody out there have some suggestions? My inventory of Nike Zoom Trails is getting worn… Help!
Wearing ankle braces may be over protective, but doing so gives me one less thing (twisting an ankle) to worry about as I traipse across the Bridger Ridge. They add 4oz (quarter pound) to each foot and certainly make me work harder but it is a worthwhile tradeoff for the protection they offer. In years past, I’ve used other brands, but the Aircast interferes the least with foot movement and still offers confidence building protection. For people with healthy strong ankles, they are an unnecessary extra.
My goals for my race day clothing are: function, comfort and light weight. I’ve been pleased with how well the following gear has worked for me. My only complaint is that the GoLite top tends to chafe my nipples forcing me to put band aids over my nipples prior to the race.
- Light Billed Cap Very Light Synthetic 1.7oz – Prize from some race
- Polar Fleece Headband 0.8oz Bought at Schnees for a couple bucks
- GoLite Short Sleeve Top 2.7oz
- Brooks Equilibrium Briefs 1.7oz
- Nike Pro Compression Shorts 2.2oz
A light colored top and hat (white in this case) are cooler than dark colors when the conditions are sunny. Dark colors absorb heat from the sun and is a disadvantage in warm weather as compared to light colors.
Some of these articles of clothing are nearly half the weight of comparable items. This stuff is so light and comfy, I barely notice I am wearing it. I’m not sponsored at any level and have purchased everything I use with the exception of the Cap that I won at some race that I can no longer remember.
The Brooks Briefs and Nike Compression Shorts team up to give me great support with zero chaffing. They may not be the most stylish for an old man in his mid fifties, but I am more concerned with function than style. There is probably a certain age that once you exceed that, compression shorts are taboo. As far as I know, I’m not quite there yet. So far, no one has told me it is time to stop wearing them.
Fueling and Hydration System
Previously, I posted a review of Ultimate Direction Solitaire waist belt teamed with a Gatorade 24oz water bottle as my favorite hydration system for races like the Ridge Run. This combination has worked flawlessly for me in the past and 2013 was no exception. In the waist belt, I carried two packs of Clif Bloks and one pack of Gu Chomps. The Clif Bloks are the tropical punch flavor that have a bit of caffeine in them. The Gu Chomps are the cranberry flavor and also have a little caffeine in them. In case it got hot, I carried a small ziplock bag of E-Caps. This year I did not have to use any. In my pack, I also carried a small collection of tape and blister treatment stuff; just in case. Preparedness is prevention.
The tiny bottle in the picture is a small amount of essential oil of peppermint for aroma therapy. Smelling it works well as a wake up and to treat my vertigo. A couple drops on the back of my hand allows me to take a sniff whenever I need to get refocused – kind of like pleasant smelling salts. To others, I must smell like a candy cane coming down the trail.
The gel flask contained a thick mixture of Vitargo. During the race, I used very little of this directly, as it tends to trigger wooziness like other gels. For me, the Bloks and Chomps work well. Perhaps, it is because they require chewing; slowing down the fueling rate to a level my system tolerates better than swigs of gel.
Over the duration of this year’s race, I used up one pack of Bloks and one pack of Chomps contributing 360 calories. My water bottle held about 160 calories of Skratch Labs at the start. At Ross Pass, I refilled it with plain water. At Bridger Bowl I swapped it with a bottle that had about 280 calories of Vitargo. At Baldy, I refilled the bottle with plain water. So my total caloric intake was 800 calories averaging 200 calories per hour. At the finish I had still had one unused pack of Clif Bloks.
In total, I drank the equivalent of four 24oz bottles – 96oz (3 quarts). After finishing the race, I was a bit dehydrated and drank another half a gallon over the next couple hours as I recovered.
My only low energy patch was coming down from Baldy. Weakness there was probably from being sick before the race – not from lack of fueling. In my experience, getting sick impedes my endurance fitness. It sets me back and requires a bit of training to get back to where I was before getting sick.