Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Truth-Seeking Mission Packing Frenzy

I'm getting ready to leave for Iowa, which means I have to go through everything I own, pull it all out and throw it in a pile, and then go through again and sort out all the stuff I really don't need.

Iris always has to supervise the packing ritual. My car is already loaded with coolers, table, chair, tent. I stopped by the store yesterday and bought some things, food will have to wait until I get closer to race day.

After not running any ultras for 10 months, first I have to dig things out of the garage, which was a major project yesterday. Good thing to do when I'm on my weekend work hangover day. It was a crazy busy weekend at work but it was good. I started sleeping through the night again.

More piles. It's never ending.

Packing for a fixed-time race that you're driving to is a challenge. There's the temptation to take everything. I really just need a table, a chair, some coolers, something to prop up my feet, and then be very organized in my pre-race setup so everything is easily accessible without having to waste time searching for it. You just set everything up at the trackside, and it's a quick stop, but you have to minimize the number of stops because it's too easy to reach for an item whenever you think of it, instead of saving it for the break times.

Generally I try to take a break and put my feet up for no more than 10-15 minutes every 6 hours and get as many calories into myself during that time as possible. I do my pole stretch- holding onto some stable object and squatting down and stretching- my butt, hamstrings, calves, achilles tendons, feet- every hour. And that's basically it for strategy. Just holding back for the first 12 hours and not running more than half the miles than you think your total will be, re-assessing how the strategy is working, and then adjusting from there.

The forecast is for warm and humid, which suits me just fine. 87 degrees and high humidity as of yesterday's forecast, same exact conditions as in Florida at the Keys, where I got a 100 mile PR. I'll have plenty of ice and bandanas for my head and neck, lots of S caps and drinks, and the MP3 player with plenty of spare batteries. And food, of course. And Starbucks Doubleshots. I'm hoping to not have to sleep.

When I got home from work the other night, Dennis surprised me with his first modifications to Rocket with Gerry Z's guts attached. It's still under construction, he will probably shorten the front bars and put a larger wheel in front, but this is basically what it will look like. I need to take it for a test spin today. Then I need to finish organizing my foot kit and reducing the size of the pile of clothes I pulled out yesterday.

I'm ready to burn some tread off the bottom of my running shoes. I'm hungry to race, and I feel like pushing myself. Not only am I running a race, I'm on a truth-seeking mission...for two pieces of truth:

1. To see how many miles I can run in 24 hours.

2. To find out what's really in Iowa.

The plan is, drive across Nebraska, spend the night in Omaha, then drive the rest of the way to Iowa and have a full day to chill out before the race. I've driven across Nebraska only once before, about 15 years ago. Can't say I remember too much of it. I do remember the zoo in Omaha, that was pretty cool.

I'll be blogging from the road, looking forward to the interesting sights in Nebraska and Iowa, since I have never been into Iowa before. I know that everyone reading this is asking the burning question, what's in Iowa?

Well, pork chops, for one. And chicken fried steak. Mashed potatoes and gravy. Cornfields. A few rolling hills. Those are the things other people have told me.

If I get hungry enough after the race, I might even eat some of that stuff. Not the chicken fried steak though...can't even fathom chewing on something that looks like a fried cowpie.

Gotta go, the supervisor tells me to get back to my state of frenetic packing so we can go for a run...


SteveQ said...

I know a couple people running Cornbelt besides you this year; the 24 has become a popular race distance (er, time) this year, especially among top runners.

The closer you get to the Mississippi River, the nicer Iowa gets (and the hillier).

Alene Gone Bad said...

Steve, tell them to say hello. We'll be sharing the same space for 24 hours!

mike_hinterberg said...

When I was 8, I went on a motorcycle trip with paternal relatives through the east part of Iowa. Just getting out of Wisconsin was a big deal, and staying in hotels with pools and mini-golf, which was enough back then. We also toured the Amana refrigerator factory (I think). Now, I would probably check out the Amana colonies themselves.

Tops on my list, though, (haven't been there yet) would be the famous independent Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City.

Good luck and have fun, I hope you find what you're looking for! And be sure to look at what you're finding!

Alene Gone Bad said...


Amana Refrigerators...hmm. The bookstore sounds a lot more interesting. I am going to find some kind of tourist attraction on this trip, not sure what it will be, but thanks for the ideas. I will keep my eyes open!

Allen said...

Good luck on the run.

Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks Allen!

HappyTrails said...

Does supervising Miss Iris ever veto items and remove them from your bag or pile??? Our neighbor used to travel frequently for work and her aussie would sneakily remove things from her suitcase when she had her back turned. Very funny boy, he was! :-)

My dad and brother/fam live in NW Iowa. *IF* I ever wanted to live in a perfect little mid-western farming community where everyone knows my business ( and is willing to ALWAYS lend a truly helping hand, to be fair), I would think about their town. And it's funny you mention pork chops and chicken fried steak - I've had other people mention the need to sample those items while in Iowa. Hmmmm...

Is there any shock absorption on your fancy sleigh??? I would think the jarring over the Mick would be fatiguing on the body even if it is a smooth trail. Just was wondering....

Have a safe and fun trip and a fun, fast, and fulfilling race. We'll look forward to your updates!

Alene Gone Bad said...


Miss Iris used to remove my little hair scrunchy things- she'd sneak one out, put it in her mouth and hide it in there. I'd see the corner of it hanging out of her lips, and she'd play keep away.

These days she doesn't do that anymore but she carefully inspects everything- sniffs each bag. Iris could probably get a job as one of those bomb or drug-sniffing dogs at the airport.

I'll keep you posted on my trip and progress!