When I was growing up, I loved roller coasters.  They were my favorite part of amusement parks and if it was possible, I would ride them non-stop from sunup to sundown.  At the time, there was nothing in the world that could compare to the feeling of getting in line to ride one.  It was a special mixture of joy, anticipation, nervousness, and outright fear.  I’m not sure if the feeling even has a name, but I always equate it with good times and happy thoughts.

This feeling has returned to me as I’ve started preparing for the C&O Canal 100.  I haven’t gotten a full dose of the feeling yet like I used to as I was getting strapped in to the coaster.  Merely little tastes of it here and there similar to what I would get as we drove to the amusement park.  I know from prior races that the feeling will continue to build in duration and intensity right up until I start on Saturday.

The feeling now comes as I begin final preparations for the race.  As you can imagine, the longer the race the more preparations are needed as there are a much wider variety of potential issues that I need to plan for.  Since I’m more of a Type A personality than not, this means lists, lists, and more lists.  Frankly, I feel a little bit like Santa in that I’m checking and rechecking my lists several times a day.  The only difference is that Santa has only 2 lists and I have what feels like a hundred lists as I get everything ready for my race.  Here is the current status of my lists.  I’m sure they’ll grow a bit over the next several days as I remember what I’ve forgotten, but these should be close to what I’ll need:

Master List

charge both watches
clear memory on both watches
change battery in HRM
charge MP3 player
update MP3 with new playlist
charge portable charger
pack camping gear – tent, air mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets, pillows, chair
pack clothes (see list below)
Pack Race Gear (see separate list below)
test watch charging on the go
get directions to Manidokan
get directions from Manidokan to Brunswick
get directions home
Sat breakfast – TastyKlair, Gatorade (2)
book for car ride
Prepare drop bags with name, aid station, bib #123
HR goop
Pace list for Kate


Race Gear

compression shorts
Patagonia shoes
hydration belt
2 20oz bottles – filled with water
MP3 player
HR Monitor

Clothes for before/after

sweat pants
toiletry bag

Drop Bag Lists

Manidokan Brunswick Nolan’s Ferry
long sleeve T-shirt long sleeve T-shirt long sleeve T-shirt
tights tights Ensure Plus (2)
sweat shirt sweat shirt gloves
gloves gloves hat
Rain coat – backup Rain coat – good
Headlamp – primary Headlamp – backup
batteries for primary batteries for backup
hand warmers hand warmers
winter hat winter hat
Ensure Plus (1) Ensure Plus (4)
portable charger backup watch
body glide body glide
knee brace Ace bandage

I may end up eliminating the Nolan’s Ferry drop bag.  It’s only 10 miles from Brunswick and I’m thinking I can do the 20 miles round trip without needing an extra bag.  I’ll just need to take an extra minute at Brunswick each time to make sure I’ll be good for the next 4-6 hours.

Additional Items

The one additional prep item I had this time was to test out a way to charge my Garmin as I run.  I chose the watch because it has the longest battery life of GPS watches, however it still “only” lasts about 15 hours.  I’ll never run a 100 mile race that fast so my watch will never last the whole way on 1 charge.  I used 2 different watches for Oil Creek, which worked OK but results in the data for the run being split into 2 separate files.  I’m sure there’s a way to combine the runs, however I haven’t figured it out yet.  The other way would be to charge my watch as I run.  I have a portable USB charger and so took this on my last long run to see if it would work for me.  I was able to charge my watch from about 25% to 90%+ over the 2 hour run.  The only downside is that I don’t have access to any information besides the time of day and % charged while it’s charging.  So I can’t use any alarms and won’t notice the mile splits.  Neither of these are big issues.  I only need the heart rate alarm when I start out and by the time I hit 13-14 hours, I probably couldn’t get my HR up to 155 if I tried.  And while it’s nice to see how my pace is progressing, I don’t really need to know the mile splits as I’m not racing the clock.  If I lose a couple of 5-10 minutes while my watch charges, then I’m sure it’s for the best anyway.

As you can see from the above, there’s a lot of thought that goes into just preparing to run 100 miles even excluding the training aspect.  Sure there are some people that can roll out of bed and run one with the clothes on their back.  At some point, that may even be me.  But you never know what might happen between miles 1 and 99 and the more stuff you have available, the more likely you are to finish.

What do you call that getting-on-a-roller-coaster feeling?

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