Two weeks to the Badwater Ultramarathon.
The lists aren't overwhelming me quite yet, something I can credit the "little steps" that I've taken to prepare over the past few months. As with any event where I'm a rookie, considering exactly what to pack can be a slight bit intimidating. How many coolers? What type of clothing? How much ice? What about food? But at "the end of the day" (or insert any other overused cliche of your choice), it's really just about running, walking, having fun, and respecting the elements...right?
If that is truly what it's all about, then I'm as ready as I'll ever be. The mileage is in the bank. The heat training has progressed really well. And I've managed to calm my mind and wrap my head around this incredible journey that sits before me now. On paper, it's 135 miles through scorching heat and relentless hills. But in my heart, it's something that no map or race report could ever hope to explain. Like that elusive family vacation where dad yells to the complainers in the backseat, "Kids, getting there is half the fun!" I think that I've experienced at least half of the fun.
But the "task" of the race is not nearly half over. I fully expect that halfway point to come, odd as it might sound, somewhere around the 100-mile mark of the course. You know...that point in every race--regardless of the distance--where you've passed the physical halfway point, but the real race is just beginning. At that point, it's not a race with other humans. It's a race with the demons within--the doubts, the laziness, the inner-couch potato.
So, onward I go, preparing the little details as best I can. My confidence has been buoyed by the recent heat wave that we're enjoying. Today's 100+ degree temps felt very, very nice to this sauna boy. I wore three layers of long sleeve shirts, a black cap, and a small backpack for good measure on my 10.5-mile jaunt. Other than a mid-run "bonk," I felt very energized by the end of the run.
And the sauna sessions--mostly around 40-45 minutes @ 165-170 degrees--continue. Add to this the unorthodox training of a kitchen remodel demolition (not highly recommended for the elite athletes out there), and it's been pretty smooth sailing. I've cut the caffeine intake significantly and throttled back on the cold adult beverages somewhat. My diet is pretty good. Hell, I'll even get a haircut sometime in the next week. Crazy, I know.
On the media front, I got some good news late last week. The local Portland CBS affiliate has lined up a day to shoot a story about my preparation for the race. Hopefully, we can focus the message not on the "loony runner guy" angle, but rather on the mission of Soles4Souls.
Here's a juicy race-prep detail for you to chew on: My normal shoe size is 12.5, and I'll start the race in that size. But the best laid plans of mice and men...During the race, the feet can swell significantly, resulting in a painful cramming of the feet into shoes that are now too small. Therefore, the other day I bought a pair of size 14 shoes as insurance. Guess I should keep the receipt, eh?
Thanks for your continued support, prayers, songs, well-wishes, good vibes, acts of random kindness, karmic balancing, unsolicited calf massages, hearty handshakes, pats on the back, toasts of health and cool breezes, and hearty Hi-Oh Silvers, Away!