As I’m sure most readers here know, I can’t do any kind of event without writing about it—it’s how I figure things out for myself, and hopefully (maybe) help a few people out in the process. So, with my first 100-miler in the books, I’ve been pondering all of the things to write about. Gear might seem like a weird place to start, but honestly, I think it was the biggest question mark for me, since choosing the wrong pair of socks could totally derail everything. The stakes felt high. I’m happy to say that for the most part, I did pretty well with what I chose, and very little of it needed to be purchased just for this race—stuff like the new watch were things I already needed anyway. And a lot of it, like the bandana and my gloves (and my top for the first half), you could get pretty much anywhere. So, it doesn’t take super pricey gear to do a race like this, just gear that you trust and that you can rely on. Comfort is key!
So, here is the full list of the gear that I used for the all-singletrack Outlaw 100 trail ultra. I’ll write more about the race itself and things like getting the course record, fueling, night running and what I would do differently as well, so stay tuned! You can also check out this week’s podcast for a full breakdown of the race.
Coros Pace 2 GPS watch
A GPS watch with heart rate that lasts for 24 hours (and 7 days later has still not run out of battery???). The Coros Pace 2 is unreal. I was hesitant to buy another watch—you may recall that I love my cheap Garmin Forerunner 35—but when I started prepping for this 100-miler, I thought to myself, a) I don’t want to mess with watches dying all through the race, and b) running is what I do, so why the heck am I not buying a better watch? I asked around and this one had the best battery life and apparently a super accurate GPS (perhaps to a fault, since I realized that the race was not 100 miles, but rather, 104.15!!). Check it out here (in Canada) or here (in the US)
I’m normally a ballcap person but I started with a buff as a headband because of my headlamp. I tried to use a ballcap—and did for a lap—but I hated it. Because the trail is super technical and rocky, but also you need to be looking for signage, your eyes need to be going up and down constantly. With the cap, I had to keep moving my head up and down instead of just changing my eye line, which got old after a couple miles. So, I swapped back to the buff. Check it out here (in Canada) or here (in the US)
Fenix HL60 Headlamp
Rechargeable, great spotlight, and bonus strap that goes over the top of your head to keep this headlamp in place—LOVE this headlamp. My only regret was not buying another one (I actually tried pre-race and couldn’t get one fast enough) because after it died after 6-ish hours on medium (really solid battery life), I was using a much crappier one to finish the race. I will add even when the battery goes low, it goes to a super low setting to give you plenty of time to figure out your backup plan. Check it out here (in Canada) or here (in the US)
In addition to the fact that the race is called the Outlaw 100 and a bandana around the neck felt jaunty, I also wanted to wear one because it’s a bit of a Hurford tradition. I remember as a kid, my dad, grandpa, uncles and great uncles were never without handkerchiefs in their pockets, and it’s something that I like to bring with me to any race day as a little family thing. Plus, two buffs would feel excessive. Get one here
Lightweight running gloves
I got my pair at a TJ Maxx a few weeks ago when I realized I didn’t have a great set of ‘in between’ gloves, and they ended up working perfectly. Nothing fancy—but for temps between 25 and 45 F, you don’t need much. (Could have used heavier when it dipped below 20F at night though…) Similar here
Nike Trail Pegasus
At first, my coach suggested that I try a cushier pair of shoes since 100s are A LOT of pounding. However, I’m used to Nike Terra Kigers, their racier trail shoe, and when I tried a more built up trail shoe, I hated it and just couldn’t get comfortable. The Trail Pegasus were a solid middle ground choice: Cushy, but not excessive. They’re the most vanilla trail shoe, really, but I think that’s a positive in this case. Check them out
Swiftwick Trail Socks
My feet and blisters were a major limiter, and I still haven’t totally cracked that code, but for socks that are pretty darn comfy and WARM, these merino wool ones from Swiftwick are my go-tos. I wore another pair during the day (that doesn’t deserve a shoutout, sadly), but then swapped into these at night and was SO happy that I did. If any blister prone people have recommendations though, I’m all ears! Check it out
Lululemon Align 7/8 Tights
I write about these tights all the time. They’re not run tights, they’re more for yoga/everyday life, but I think they’re the best for running. They’re high waisted and stay in place, but unlike lululemon’s ultra-compressive run tights, these have a ‘naked’ fit (the brand’s words, not mine) that make them much less restrictive. They’re not the warmest tights, but they stay in place, don’t have any weird seams, and hold up to a ton of washes, dries and long runs.
Pro tip: Dealing with hair on legs can be super tricky when heading into events like this. Shave the night before, and you may end up with razor burn and irritation. But shave earlier than that, and you might be dealing with chafe-inducing stubble. Tights versus shorts help with that, but over 24 hours, your skin gets soooo sensitive that the slightest issue could be catastrophic. This might be in the TMI category, but personally, I did some experimenting here and found that I just needed to not shave for a few days prior to the event, so that I didn’t have any really angry stubble on my legs that could catch on my tights (especially on my shins).
Girlfriend Collective Lola V Neck Bra
This bra was perfect because it’s a) super soft and b) has really wide straps and c) doesn’t have a tight band anywhere. Trying to find a bra that wouldn’t chafe while wearing a pack = tricky business. This one was surprisingly great. (And on sale right now for under $30!)
Walmart Long Sleeve
This one I can’t even link to because it’s so old, but this $8 running top I bought back in probably 2010 remains my go-to. It’s a simple polyester long sleeve that I wear year-round, and it’s just comfortable. That’s it.
Velocio Trail Long Sleeve
Yep, I wore a cycling shirt for the second half of the race as the temperatures dropped and I wanted something a little bit thicker and heavier. This one from Velocio is cozier than my thin long sleeves without being overly thick, and unlike some cycling-based tops, it doesn’t ride up at all, just sits really nicely. It’s also awesome for riding, so if you’re someone who wants a wardrobe that overlaps a fair bit, this is a great call. Check it out here
I’ve written about the Osprey Dyna pack before, but it remains my #1. I actually love it so much that I have 2 (I got a blue one initially but found a black one on sale and snapped it up because #goth). Having 2 turned out to be great, since I could just do a full pack swap once a lap and not have to wait around for a new bladder to get added to the pack I was using. It saved a ton of time. And the pack itself was so good—it’s a bit more fitted than a Nathan pack or Solomon pack, which tend to have softer materials, but in a case like this, that’s a major positive. It doesn’t move around at all, it fits nice and snug, so you aren’t dealing with any chafe-causing bounding problems. Check it out here
Gore packable raincoat
As you may have heard in our podcast, this raincoat is one of my all time favorites, but it was a tough choice for later in the race. It’s so close fitting that—while extremely packable and nice to have in my bag all day—once I was a bit bloated from the race, it wasn’t super comfortable. That said, this raincoat has been through everything with me and it’s so worth the spend. I’ve had it for years, it’s been all over the world, it packs into a saddle bag, it’s great for riding and running, and it’s been through the washer AND dryer and still works great. They don’t make the exact model anymore but this is a close one
Squirrel Nut Butter chafe stick
Where did I put it? Everywhere. Luckily, I didn’t have any chafing issues other than my toes, but that might be because I was proactive. Underarms, behind my underarms where my pack hit, on my clavicle where my pack hit, thighs, behind knees and back of ankles all got a swipe. Check it out