My friends and crew have been popping me questions via chat and email and live phone conversations. Totally violating the "put in on the blog" rule. So I bring you the next installment of "Ask the ultrarunner".
Q: Who will be responsible for toilet paper?
A: Natalee. She will prepare some small rolled up pieces that will go in a velcro pocket on my shorts. Be sure its always full when I leave an aid station. Could be one of those days. I am used to not having it and using rocks but its nice when you are going all day to be able to get a little cleaner to prevent ass chafe.
Q: Will i have to wipe you?
A: No. I am too skilled in this. Remember, I train daily by crapping on my runs in the wild. I am fully trained and need no assistance. Unless, I totally bonk the fuck out. Then you may have to stop laughing and try and help me.
Q: What is the transportation situation?
A: Well, I am running to Auburn. I believe you all should use a car. You figure it out. I have a mini-van you can use. Most aid stations limit you to one vehicle. Might take some planning. You can split the stations up too. Just leave somewhere for me to fit on the ride back to Squaw.
Q: How long do you stop at an aid station?
A: Varies. I "grew up" watching Tony never stop moving and we all want to be just like him. But that probably a negative behavior in the grand scheme for anyone not at the front of the pack. So think more like NASCAR. Stop, do your business, then get out! Don't let me sit down unless I am changing shoes. Don't all talk at once. Do what you need to. If your job is filling a pocket with gels, just do it. Get your hands dirty. Don't involve me. My job is to communicate any issues that we might have to address and then to consume calories that are harder to carry. So load it up, spray me down, switch whatever, and send me off. The minutes spent in aid stations add up over the day. However, if those minutes spent enable me to run a minute a mile faster because I am fueled and comfortable, then its a net-zero gain. So as soon as it seems like I am just hanging around to delay further trauma, send me off.
A: Starting in the Crosslites. Bringing 3 other pairs. Not exactly sure what the plan is from there. Could go all day in them or not. Bringing Hokas in case my feet go south in a pounding fashion. Can't afford to wear them before because of blisters.
Q: Hydration - bottles or pack?
A: Bottles are what I train with. They are the primary source. My plan is to carry 2 through most of the day. Probably from the start since we don't see crews for many miles. Mostly water in both. Might do some mixing in one later in the day. Let's not be afraid to fill one with Coke when it seems like we need it. I hope to have 4 bottles on site and just keep switching 2 at stops. Or we can fill. I will bring my hydration pack but I don't plan on using it. Only if something isn't working or I am getting through the bottles too fast and need more during a hot stretch. I don't think we have to have it full and on standby. It will be backup.
Q: Do you deodorize during the day?
A: No. Its going to be a smelly celebration. About the best thing to do will be to get the sweat wiped off of me from time to time. Wet rags or sponges. This will cool but also keep me from rubbing. Some aid stations will have buckets but we should be prepped with our own in some spots.
Q: How many iPods do you have?
A: 2 iPod shuffles. Equivalent playlists. Either works at any time. I don't have power songs for certain portions of the course. If I find my iPods have been tampered with...as in putting Enya or Abba on them...I will poop on you. Twice.
Q: How will we post to twitter?
A: My technology coordinator, Eric, will be given my Twitter password the day before the race. At that point, I am no longer responsible for any tweets. He can use his phone or mine...or both for extra battery. We aren't sure what cell service will be but I have gotten pretty decent updates in the past when following other runners in earlier years. We (he) will do his best but its not a stresser if things aren't updating in real time. No satellites yet. Maybe next time.
Q: Will we drive from aid station to aid station?
A: Probably. Unless you want to run. But I think you have to pay and qualify.
Q: How much time in between?
A: Varies. Hours to minutes. The participant guide gives some numbers.
Q: Will we have "Team Brandon" t-shirts?
Q: And if so - can we name it something cooler than "Team Brandon?"
A: We are Team Shart. Live proud.
Q: How should we dress?
A: Maybe a costume theme? You all should be like Avenger characters or something. This will make it much easier to find you in the sea of people. If not, something comfortable and in layers. Could be a long night. In Leadville, we have gone from bikinis to down jackets on the same day.
15 days to go...