Saturday, June 28, 2008
This week Steph came up from Denver and we had a brainstorming session. We went over all of the lists of gear and supplies, talked strategy, decided on our code word, and discussed our final travel plans. When Steph showed up at the house around 10:30 Thursday morning, I had already gone for a walk with the Buffaloes, did my morning sauna session, and went for an 18 mile bike ride. We sat down at the table with our lists and then we visited the pile of stuff in the garage and we went through it all in three hours.
We have a few last details to work out like the signage for the van and backup crew vehicle. We will also have our reminder with us, to keep me cool and in the zone the first day. That would be the Puke-Free Zone...
The race starts 2 weeks from Monday. I'm leaving in l2 days. I have three more stores to go to. I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but I have to go to Wal-Mart. In Phoenix and Las Vegas I was able to get everything I needed on my list at Wal-Mart. For the past two weeks I've been trying to get all the loose ends tied up and get all the things on my list and I can't seem to find what I need.
Auto parts stores don't have windshield shade screens. Target doesn't have them, either... Walgreens and King Soopers don't have the first aid supplies I need. Target doesn't have them either...I don't have the time to be running around to 50 million different stores and asking for help from the clueless 16 year old at the cash register while he asks the clueless 20 year old manager...trying to call on the phone and talk to a human being who won't keep you on hold for half an hour and without disconnecting the phone line is another problem.
All I have left on my list are a few items from the running store (1 more pair of shoes and more gel flasks); Wal Mart for first aid supplies and batteries, and the bank, for crisp or as new as possible $1.00 bills for the ice machine in Furnace Creek.
Speaking of the bank, our Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 check arrived, a little boost to the Badwater budget. I wish I could go spend it outside of the U.S. and send my receipts to the White House, but I guess Death Valley is somewhat like leaving the U.S., no cell phone service, non-potable water, and no air conditioning.
Tuesday I only had to go into work for a meeting. I did a long bike ride and two sauna sessions. I've been staying in the sauna about 90 minutes a day, in two 45 minute sessions. I know I'm getting ready for the heat, because now my heart rate is only 96 after 45 minutes in there! When I leave the sauna I'm drenched with sweat but I feel fine. When I first started back in March I'd have my heart rate at 130 after just 20 minutes and when I got out I'd be wobbly, lightheaded and need to recover a few minutes before I drove home. Now I walk out after 45 minutes and it's no big deal, I'm just soaking wet.
The sauna has done strange things to me. I have sauna hair and sauna skin. I try to put conditioner on my hair and lotion on my skin after I take a shower but when I was in that meeting at work, and I looked down and saw my legs were all dry and little flakes of dry skin were falling off. I look diseased.
My hair goes POOF! whenever I brush it out or let it dry and leave it down. It's completely dried out. I'll need a good haircut after this is all over.
I have to go back to work tomorrow, but I'll end this post with a quote Steph and I found from Ken about three weeks before his successful run at Badwater:
"Why can't I just be content to sit on the couch and watch NASCAR?"
-Ken "Sunny Skies" Eielson, June 30, 2003
photo credits: top two photos by Stephanie Willingham, bottom photo by Nathan Nitzky