Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ultra Gear (P3): Medical and Misc.

Welcome to Part 3 of my Ultra Gear and Performance Series.
Click HERE to Review Part 1
Click HERE to Review Part 2
In this part I will be giving you a look at what I keep in my race bin for medical purposes as well as going over any miscellaneous gear that I have collected for use during an ultra. By no means do I use everything you are going to see, but keep in mind that these items are always good and smart to have with your crew/handlers. All too often at a race I find aid stations without some essential first aid or helpful items. And rightfully so where its not the races responsibility to cater to your every whim. This is why it is pretty important to have these things accessible to yourself through your crew. Before I put up the photo, I will mention that there is something missing. DUCT TAPE. How could you ever go wrong with duct tape. Multi-purpose right? Also, some of you have been asking questions on the comment tab at the bottom of the post. I have been answering you there so please, take a look back to read for your responses in the comments tab. Thanks!

Above is a picture of what you'll find in my medical and misc bins. Some.. MOST of these items are pretty obvious but some I'll talk about in greater depth.

Off Bug Spray: Remember, these races are 90% mental. So why jeopardize your mental status because you forgot Bug Spray to combat those black flies or mosquitoes. Especially here in New England.

Coppertone Sport Sunscreen SPF 50: Its waterproof an sweat proof and I'd hate to get sunburnt on the back of my neck or face.

Small Adventure First Aid Kit: It's a First Aid kit and it has everything a first aid kit would have in it.

Tub of Vaseline and Rubber Gloves: Chafe can get REALLY bad and this stuff could be the holy grail. Its pretty messy so lets use the rubber gloves to apply. Also, the rubber gloves are good for my crew if they need to work on blisters, blood, wounds or anything else nasty they might not want to touch. Remember: TAKE CARE OF YOUR CREW!

Toothpaste and Toothbrush: Nothing makes you feel better than brushing your teeth around mile 70 of a 100 Mile race. Believe it or not, simply taking the time to brush your teeth can turn your race around and make you feel as fresh as the start! Besides, how many gels does it take to disintegrate an entire tooth?

Spare Head Lamp, Small Flash Light and Extra Batteries: It gets pretty dark once the sun goes down. Make sure you can see where you are going.

Body Glide, Desitin and "Horton's Lube": I use Body Glide to lube up any known rough spots or spots prone to rubbing during a race. These include, thighs, crotch, around under-arms, nipples and upper obliques. Body Glide IS the best stuff that I use but sometimes its not enough. This is where the Vaseline comes into play. Sometimes Vaseline might not do the trick so I have Desitin handy. Desitin is perfect for diaper rash on babies so why not use it on runners? Lastly, "Horton's Lube" is a concoction of ingredients mixed into one. It is mostly used on chafe that has gotten so bad that bleeding has commenced (yes it happens). If anyone wants the recipe, I could dig it up and post it at a later date.

Small Pair of Scissors: Cut stuff up
Neosporin: Disinfectant
Mole Skin: For hot spots or blistered areas
Butterfly Bandages: For deep or widely opened wounds.
Chapstick: For lips
Stop Pain Spray: They say its magic.. I've never used it.
Fingernail Clippers: For nails, hung up skin or for cutting away blister skin.
Germ-X Han Sanitizer: Just another luxury for my crew. Also, I hate having sticky and nasty hands. Nice to be able to wash them.

New Skin: Nothing stings worse than New Skin in a new cut but the stuff is great. Drop some into a popped blister cavity and hen press down on the wound to seal it up and you're good to go!
One Touch Lancets: Not just for diabetics, these things are great for blister popping, sliver digging or blister digging. Medical Teams at a race use the same thing. I just happen to have my own.

Tinactin: So you are running in the rain or through stream crossings. Hot air, heat from your foot and the swamp that is now encased in your shoe is ideal for bacterial growth. Sooner or later your foot is going to start to itch, burn or rot off... Tinactin is great for athletes foot and can help quell some of these inconveniences.

Bio-freeze: Super Ben gay is pretty much what it is. I've been using it since I started running and it works every time. Heat/Cold Gel that you rub onto trouble spots and the pain goes away.

Advil Gel Caps: To be taken at the handler station, not on the run. Ever pop a gel cap and take the pill anyway? Your tongue goes numb and it is GROSS!
Ibuprofen tablets: These best thing to carry on the run. Help take the pain away.. although, I really like to feel the pain so I rarely take one. Also keep in mind, that every pill you take must also be processed by your kidneys along with all of the other junk. So... don't kill the kidneys.. you need them to finish the race!

Athletic Tape and Pre-Wrap: Pre-wrap is a luxury. I and everyone else hates ripping tape off of the skin or hair. The pre-wrap helps protect you from the discomfort. The athletic tape is useful for taping up your ankles if you rolled it, providing ankle support and arch support and for just helping you get comfy enough on a small injury where the added support is going to help you finish. Hey.. I'm not one to quit so I'll do whatever it takes to get to the finish even if it means crawling. Tape me up doc!

Blister Prevention Patches: For hot spots
Headlamp: For seeing at night
Emergency Space Blanket: For emergency warmth
Take Cover Poncho: For rain where I don't want to wear my rain gear or if its too hot for rain gear.
Knife: Used to stab your nearest competitor... ok ok... to cut stuff. Also, my crew has used it for cheese!
Moist Towelettes: To clean dirty areas before treatment. It also amazing to be able to wash your face of the salt and grime late in a race. Just another thing that could change your entire aspect on how things are going.

My medical supplies are constantly a work in progress. I like having napkins or paper towels handy, a face cloth, towel. Being clean really helps you maintain that mental edge and it can also help keep your crew happy. Remember, a happy crew is going to keep YOU happy. A miserable crew is likely to get you in that, "I Quit" mode. You can never have enough of these kinds of supplies so I really recommend that you create your own medical kit and continue to build on it. You can view other runners insights on the topic on Kevin Sayer's Site HERE.

In Part 4 I am going to talk about Choosing the BEST Crew for your race in helping you achieve your ultra-goals as well as give you some advice on advice you can give them on helping you succeed. I'll also go over my personal race strategies. Until then.. Happy Trails!