Before I left for the training weekend, I promised Steph that Nathan and I would take notes on everything we learned out there to help Team Towanda be prepared for race day. We're trying to get as many of the possible glitches worked out before race day as we can.
Like I said before, you can be prepared, but you can't overplan this thing. You never know what can happen and you need to be ready for anything.
The most important thing to recognize is that everything that happened over the weekend will need to be modified for the temperatures on race day. I expect it could be 20 to 25 degrees hotter. Or more.
Nathan took notes while I was running, and I took notes by keeping a pen and a few pieces of paper in my Hazmat shirt pocket, and every time I'd think of something I'd write it down in indecipherable scrawl across the torn out notebook pages...I had to put the pages inside of a plastic sandwich bag because every time I filled my ice bandana, the ice would melt down my neck and onto the pages.
I'll transcribe the notes here in chronological order, what Nathan wrote and what I wrote. It includes helpful tips, random thoughts, and anything else we thought was relevant to helping the crew.
Day 1: Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells, 42 miles. Slept well last night. Friday May 30th Start time: 0824 Temperature: 85
Nathan: 1st stop Heed, lipscreen
Alene: before start, ate peanut butter & honey sandwich, 1 banana, drank 20 oz plain water
N: 0900 90 degrees
A: need a hat flap, or 2nd hat
N: 0905 Pee
N: 0919 Ice in hat
A: only 92 degrees but needed to start with ice in hat, sandwich too heavy in stomach
N: 0925 Ice in bottle, 4.3 miles
A: pulled tape off feet at 1 hour. Itch, feeling friction, allergic to hypoallergenic tape?
N: 0935 1 salt stick cap in bottle with ice & Heed, took chicken crackers
A: unflavored Heed with Salt Stick, need to find unflavored Heed, chicken crackers 8 at a time in sandwich bag
N: 0944 ice in hat & bottle, pee
A: 1st hour, 4.3 miles, 2 pees, Awesome!
N: 0955 ice in hat & bottle, spray, 6.1 miles
N: 1000 crackers, banana, 1/2 scoop Heed in bottle
N: 1005 pee
A: need to start walking in place during sauna training
N: 1012 spray, refill hat, ice banadana
A: pen exploded! pen parts everywhere. not DV worthy. Buy different pens.
N: 1030 pee # 4, ice hat & bottle, Bad Pen!
A: car from Washington, wants to know, are you stuck? Look down, no tar on asphalt. Test feet, not stuck. Moving forward ok. Do I look stuck?
N: 1045 ice hat
N: 1100 pee # 5, ice bandana, change bottle to Heed & salt stick, pen
A: I wonder if Badwater runners ever get frostbite on their necks? Rocks below Zabriskie point on Furnace Creek side, psychedelic colors
N: 1124 12.6 miles
A: European tourist stopped to ask if I was okay, if I was just taking pictures. No camera. How could I be okay if I'm taking pictures without a camera?
N: 1145 pee # 6
A: starting to see heat waves on road
A: Furnace Creek list-check feet, dump shoes, re-tie, cold drinks, re-sunscreen, ice everywhere, food/slim fast, soak shirt
N: 1230 Furnace Creek, + 4 bags ice, gas & 8 bananas, & New Pens!
A: tour bus, give cow look as I run by
N: 1319 Pee # 7
A: Heat waves on road past Harmony Borax Works, ask for more chicken crackers
A: I feel the spirit of all the runners who have run down this road before me. Realize I can't plan too much, go with what the heat gives me and respect it.
N: 1452 Pee # 8, 103 degrees
A: Woman in car: Are you ok? Asks twice. Pissed me off. Not satisfied with yes, thank you. Leave me alone, I'm running, don't make me stop, I don't want to talk to you. Maybe thinks I'm writing suicide note?
N: 1500 Slim Fast vanilla
A: Austrian film crew?
N: 1511 Pee # 9, change bottle to water, not feeling well after Slim Fast
A: of all times they want to talk to me, I feel like puking. Good documentary material. Glad to be of assistance.
A: Film crew annoying. Having barfophobia. Need break, @ 30 mi? sunscreen taste in mouth. bad. Asked if I feel compelled to do? maybe if forgot Haldol. The voices told me to do it
A: break at Beatty sign, drove with AC on for 15 minutes, back to same spot.
N: 1612 28.8 miles, 103 degrees
A: next time, drink slim fast slowly, stays down. pee #13 after break Salt stick # 5 in fluid. tell crew not to overdo salt stick, dump capsule in bottle, dilute heed and unflavored best
N: 1710 Saw Devil's Cornfield, Spaz Attack! Doing well. 99 degrees
A: shades of brown in rocks. painting of Josh from here. don't want it to end.
foot friction, 20-25 degrees hotter race day, Devil's Cornfield & dunes awesome, get pics Damn bee chasing me from 2nd Beatty turnoff into Devil's Cornfield. Bug spray?
A: last 5 miles to Stovepipe Wells takes forever, 8:30 mile into Stovepipe
A: 10:46:47 for 42 miles to Stovepipe, want to eat something and go all night, will stick to original plan.
Summary crew notes from Day 1: Peed 15 times. Start using ice in hat and neck bandana from beginning. Find unflavored Heed. Don't eat a sandwich right before start. Brown foam tape does not stick, try tincture of benzoin. Drink Slim Fast S-L-O-W-L-Y. Need straws and maybe small plastic bottles to make portions of Slim Fast smaller. Avoid documentary crews. Do not take notes while running. Buy better pens. Watch for bees. Bring bug spray.
Questions to ponder: Are Death Valley tourists more intelligent than the average national park tourist? What are the demographics of Death Valley tourists? Does carrying 9 pages of salt-crusted, sweat-warped notes slow you down? Can you get frostbite in Death Valley? Am I stuck? Am I okay? Am I just taking pictures? Why do tourists ask runners for directions when they are going in the opposite direction of the runner? Don't they know we're running in a forward direction?
Day 2: I didn't sleep as well the night before day 2, I woke up early, decided to get early start. Went to Stovepipe Wells store to check out what they had, was worried about running out of crackers. They didn't have any good crackers and I decided to not get anything. The Furnace Creek store has more variety. We can get tourist crap there. I figured it would be a shorter and cooler day and I wouldn't need as much of everything.
For breakfast I had coffee, then chocolate slimfast. Attempted to use wi-fi in guest lounge to e-mail Steph, but Nathan couldn't get e-mail to send. I hit the road while Nathan got ice at the store, and met me up the road a few minutes later.
Day 2: Started at 8:07 am, 88 degrees. Saturday May 31, Stovepipe Wells to Panamint Springs, 30.3 miles, 5000 ft. gain, 3000 ft. descent.
A: Chafed along edge of liner of running shorts yesterday. Need body glide or vaseline soon. Feel heel friction, hot spot under ball of left foot. Saw piece of fried chicken on shoulder in gravel. I'm hungry.
N: 0807 start with 1 salt stick, feeling friction spots, contemplated fried chicken roadkill in gravel
A: Pee # 1 @ 27 minutes. 1 salt stick, Heed, iced hat and neck to start.
N: 0835 pee @ 43.5 mi
A: shirt and shorts need wrung out. Too much ice to start.
N: 0855 pee# 2 elev. 550
A: sign language: point to hat for hat ice and bottle ice, hold bottle out for empty bottle needs fluid. Pee # 2.
N: 0908 ice elev 610, elev 800 46.2
A: Car stops, European tourist asks: "Do you have problem?" Hmm. Should I take offense?
N: pretzels & ice
A: tell crew- never assume. Things happen fast. Pebble in shoe bad. Keep runner in sight. Mentally hard for runner if can't see crew. pacer watch sign language and carry double pack.
A: Pee #3 past 1000 ft elevation sign 1:08
N: 0924 pretzels, pee elev 1000
N: 0930 hat ice elev 1065, 47.2 mi
A: 2000 ft elevation 51 mi. 2:22 good to see parts of course where it will be dark during race. Snake wafer. Got cheese whiz?
N: new bottle Heed & salt stick, first trees
N: 0949 ice bandana, not drinking. told her to drink, wants food.elev. 1430
N: 0958 Body glide BAD! crackers, drank 1/2 bottle since 0949
N: 1007 Vaseline- wants to try and Slim Fast slowly soon
N: 1014 new bottle Heed
N: 1044 pee, ice hat, water, pretzels 52 miles
A: 2:33 pee # 4
N: lip swill & bandana, ok on ice
N: 1102 11 miles since SPW, took off ice bandana, WET! No more spray. Pee
N: 1108 added salt stick to bottle
N: ice to bottle, wants slim fast, offered grapes, didn't want. temp 85 degrees, 3225 ft elev.
N: 1117 stopping points getting rare, will try to stop every half mile or when find ok spot
N: 1125 trade bottle for Slim Fast chocolate, 3500 ft elev, 83 degrees
N: 1136 still drinking Slim Fast, no needs
N: 1145 finished slim fast, feeling good, back to bottle
N: 1149 doing well, no needs, 4000 ft elev 55.5 mi
N: 1205 56.5 mi, 4425 elev, still going- doesn't want 2nd bottle-thinks she could make it to pass without stops if needed, will park where I can.
N: 1234: Townes Pass 4:27, 58.5 mi, Jello break 10 minutes, No SUGAR FREE!!!!
Got new bottle Heed & salt stick. Pee- a little dark but ok amount
A: Townes Pass 4:27:31, 4956 ft elev. 10 minute break, jello break. Sugar free jello sucks, wildflowers last mile up to pass.
A: pee # 5 other side of pass
N: 60.3 mi 4400 elev still going, no stops since Townes Pass
N: 1315 New bottle Heed. Wants water next. Finished 1st 2.5 gallon water container.
A: Whitney view! Tour bus at 61 mi. run without bottle so I can run descent. Go back to ice and bottles at lake bed.
N: 1331 63 mi gave up bottle- running without fluid
N: 1350 65 mi drink
N: 1422 E. edge of lake bed, 95 degrees, returned to ice bandana, hat ice, heed bottle with salt stick & spray 68.1 mi
A: 6:14 to lake bed, 68 mi. 3rd salt stick, get bottle again, ice up
N: 1437 W. edge of lake bed 68.9 mi, hat ice, pee
N: 1453 70.1 mi ice in bottle, spray
A: 3000 ft descent, 3 hours. 7:19:20 at Panamint. Got Ensure? They knew I was coming. Gas $6 a gallon
N: arrive Panamint Springs resort. 96 degrees, 72.3 mi, 7:19:20 elapsed
A: Jello break, drove to Lone Pine to meet Ben and drive to Whitney Portal. Drove to Portal with Ben, then out for burger, then drove back to SPW. Restaurant on corner in Lone Pine with big gravel parking lot had good burgers, reasonable prices. Ben said there are some nice restaurants in town for a post-race dinner for crew. Awesome Joshua tree at 89 mi on course, took pictures. Darwin turnoff to Owens lake bed near Keeler, downhill & runnable. 100 mi mark is marked on road past original 100mi marker. Huge snakes on road at night. Ugh. Warn crew.
Day 2 Summary crew notes: Peed 6 times. Much cooler and less water needs. Buy regular jello. NO sugar free! Let me run downhill without weight but ask when I need a drink. Body glide breaks into pieces when soft. Use Vaseline. Wear my new shorts so liner of old shorts won't chafe crotch. Need padding on feet hot spots. Figure out easier way of dealing with hat, not stopping to refill and put it on every time. Ginormous, Huge Mega-snakes on road at night. Ugh. Crew please use Snake-B-Gon. Bring cheese whiz in case of snake wafers.
Questions to ponder: Do I have problem?