Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Single-Digit Countdown

I need to pack!  I need to do laundry!  I need to warn my bank that I'm traveling outside the country so they don't block my account!  I need to pack!  I need to check and double-check that I have all the info from the race coordinator so I don't get left behind!  I need to eat everything in my fridge so I don't come home to a mold laboratory!  AND I NEED TO PACK!

Yes ladies and gents, it's time for last minute panic mode.  The journey south begins in a few short days, and in EXACTLY ONE WEEK it's race time!  This trip had been on my brain for over a year, and I have been training for months, but it still hasn't really settled in.  My race gear has been accumulating on a bed in my house, and I see it every single day, but it still hasn't settled in.  I have been talking about the marathon day in and day out because all my family and friends and coworkers and classmates are extremely curious, but it still hasn't settled in.  Maybe by the time I go to the airport?  Go through security?  Get on the plane?

Several people have asked what is it that you say to a runner before a race, since a comment like "Break a leg!" seems really inappropriate.  And knowing me, I would take that advice seriously and sprain my ankle within the first quarter mile.

So what about "Good luck"?  But there should be no luck involved.  Well, maybe a tiny bit, but mostly it's the training and dedication that you devoted to your preparation that send you across the finish line, not luck.

"Have fun!" seems to be the best pre-race send-off comment.  Because if you're not having at least a little bit of fun for at least part of the race, it's not really worth it.  Sure, by mile 24 your muscles are exhausted and your joints are sore and you're thinking, Why do I do this to myself?  But the start was probably fun with the anticipation crackling in the air.  Along the way there was probably some beautiful scenery or an energetic spectator with a funny sign that made you smile and made you happy to be right there at that moment running that race.  The finish is always amazing, no matter how cramped your body is as it promptly shuts down in protest of your crazy undertakings.  The post-race euphoria is fun!

And in this very particular case, something like "Stay warm!" is probably appropriate as well.  A friend texted yesterday to tell me she was sending safe and warm thoughts my way.  Much appreciated!

So let's run through the packing list one last time--

Race gear first--
Sock liners
Wool socks
Wind pants
Face mask
Glove liner

I look like a ninja.  Hopefully a warm ninja.

General Antarctica gear--
Fleece pants
More wool socks
More baselayers
More fleece layers
Pee bottle (or you can sprint across camp in the middle of the night to the special port-a-john)
Water bottle (better make sure not to mix up the two bottles)
Flag (gotta represent at an international race!)

You may be surprised not to see boots and a winter coat listed.  Conveniently, we are able to rent a down parka, heavy duty wind pants, and winter boots from the expedition company.  It's rather pricey, but worth it because a) purchasing those items would be really really expensive and I would not use them enough for it to be worth the cost and b) winter gear takes up a LOT of space in a suitcase, so picking up the bulkiest items in Chile saves me space!

Let's get this into a suitcase!  It's really happening!  Stay warm and HAVE FUN!

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