Last Annual Vol State Race: Pre-race Report

So I’ve decided to go on with the race.  I still haven’t figured out my foot issues totally.  I can run without pain but there are still lingering things going on in the same spot as during my Brown County run.  Things hurt some the day after running.  Stretching helps a lot so I suspect it’s mostly muscle related but I have yet to find a way to prevent it.  The podiatrist said there’s no stress fracture or anything major like that.  He thought I should always hurt the way my foot is shaped, even just walking around.  Not very helpful but at least I know it’s not some major thing.  I’m still trying new things every long run to see if it helps.  Running on gravel hasn’t helped so I think I’ll continue to mostly do asphalt on the long runs going forward.  Some other racers have even joked that I have an unfair advantage since I’ll be used to running on painful feet.  This race is guaranteed to make your feet hurt, A LOT!  Blah blah blah is all my wife is hearing by this point so I’ll move on.

I plan on having a plan for this race but I know full well it won’t last more than a few hours.  I hope to be done in 7 days.  My usual ways of planning my time says I could be done in 5 days.  With my foot and knowing this race, everything would have to be perfect to get 5 days.  It just won’t happen so don’t even think about it.  Way too many variables with this race.  The weather will be a huge factor.  I felt overheated Saturday at the end of my 20 mile run and it was only 73 with a low dew point.  I need it to get hot here soon!  So I won’t bore you with my plan since I still don’t really have it all worked out anyway.  It may seem pointless to make a plan you know you won’t follow but it will help me memorize the course better and where things are along the course.  Those will prove useful I think.

I do have some rules/wants/goals I plan on following as best I can:

  1. Don’t die.  Kind of an everyday goal really.
  2. Don’t eat more than 1100 calories of solid food at a time unless I plan on resting for more than 3 hours.  This is based on past experience.  I’ve never had an issue eating up to 1100 calories of food and then immediately running 20+ miles.  In fact I get a nice energy boost about 3 hours into the run due to the food hitting my intestines.  I can drink some fluid calories on top of this but I’m not sure exactly how much.  Probably not more than 200-300 calories.  If I rest for 3+ hours most of the food should be out of my stomach so I can eat more than 1100 calories.  I know if I eat 2600 calories, I’ve had issues of feeling full for almost 8 hours so I still probably want to keep it under 2000 calories.  This may change after a couple of days of solid running but for at least the first few days this is rule #2.
  3. Sleep during the afternoon when it’s hottest.  This race is often as hot as the Badwater race when you use the heat index scale.  Plus I don’t have the benefit of a crew like you do at Badwater to cool you with ice water every 30 minutes and sit in an air conditioned car.
  4. Take advantage of the night.  Cool and few cars.
  5. Remember to take photos, videos, take notes the entire race.  I have a problem sometimes remembering everything when I’m super tired.  Plus this race could take 10 days.  That’s way too long to remember something without making a note of it.
  6. No whining.  I’ve never had an issue with this before during a race but again, this race could take 10 days.  Everyone who’s finished this race that I’ve talked to says you will have a meltdown at some point.  I’m fine with a mental meltdown or even a pity party.  I’m sure I’ll hate it at the time but they don’t last long and you won’t whine about them later.  The point is to get over it and move on.  In the long run it probably helps since you’ll realize how stupid it was in the first place to have one.
  7. Finish.  I really want to finish this.  Not only because I think it’s awesome but because I don’t want there to be a reason to do it again!  This will be the closest I get to doing a Forrest Gump style transcontinental run.  In fact there are several people doing this race that have done that several times already.  The course record holder is returning this year.  He’s one of the few people on the planet to ever run 600 miles in 6 days.  These are the amazing athletes I’ll be going against/with.  Finishing a race these people consider difficult would be a big deal to me, even if I’m last.

I guess that’s all I can think of right now.  So here’s the other reason I’m doing a pre-race report.

I know a lot of people say they’re doing some athletic thing for charity.  While there are some good organizations that put on athletic events to raise money, there are also lots of DIY fundraising being done by people on their own.  I don’t really get that and honestly I’m pretty suspicious when I see it.  There are a lot of people who just want donations so they don’t have to pay for their adventure themselves and maybe donate whatever is left over after all the expenses they can think of.  Some think that “raising awareness” counts so they just keep all the money.  Those people suck.  I’m not those people.  How doing an event on your own volition became a call for donations I’ll never understand.  It’s not like you aren’t going to do it if you don’t get donations.  Maybe people should ask for donations for reading a book too:)

So, since there is a precedent for this sort of thing, and since this race is kind of a big deal for me; I thought I’d give suggestions on things you can donate to if you want.  I guess this way I have a better answer for “Why are you running?”  They are all related to human trafficking and women’s protection.  I’m doing this race whether or not you donate.  Your donations won’t make me run a step further than I would’ve anyway so don’t donate if that’s your only reason. I will donate as well to the ones I haven’t already donated to.

So why human trafficking?

The spark to all of this was first off having a daughter.  The first week of school last fall, she was bullied on the bus by 2 boys.  Now, while I knew I loved her very much, I never knew how much until she repeated the things they said.  I really don’t know if I could’ve stopped myself from beating those boys if they were near me I was so mad at them.  They’re only 6 years old, but I just went into this “dad protection” mode.  It’s something I don’t think you can ever understand unless you have a daughter.  I certainly wouldn’t have been able to truly understand it before having one.

Anyway, even before that I watched a Frontline report on the mass abduction and rape of the Yezidi women by ISIS in late 2014.  I should correct that to say young girls and women.  These sick f**ks think it’s in total accordance with their religion to “marry” 9-year-old girls to rape them and pass them around to friends and then sell them off to make money.  This is because the girls are not Muslim.  Almost all of the women who have been rescued from ISIS have said they prayed for death.  This stuff is still happening and most of those who were abducted are still being trafficked.  Abductions continue to happen.  Horrible things are happening in the refugee camps all over the world as well.

Then there is rape.  I know of victims that said it’s completely ruined their life.  They want the legal system to punish rapists equal to or even more than murderers because of the damage it causes.  I will not argue against that.  All sexual abuse messes people up.  It’s not always as severe as depression, suicide, or worst of all the victim doing it to someone else.  But there’s always something.  Maybe they don’t trust people, maybe they won’t ever enjoy sex, etc.  The point is, it lingers your entire life.

What would I do if this happened to my daughter?

People need to talk about this stuff more.

So I have been pondering all of this on many of my runs the last 10 months, praying about it, and trying to figure out what can be done.  Surprisingly, it took quite a bit of effort to find good organizations set up for fighting human trafficking.  Since this race is so long, I’m sure these victims will come to my thoughts often.  I know the action169 organization mostly just wants prayers so that’s what I’ll do during the race.  In addition I felt compelled to tell people about this issue.  Yes I know everyone knows there is a problem, but do people realize how close this is to home?  Probably not.  There is human trafficking everywhere, including all the small rural counties where I live.  I’ll admit I wasn’t aware how prevalent it was until I started looking.

These are all Christian based organizations.  If you have a problem with that, get over it; You’ll find there are few that aren’t religious based.  Pathetically few government based organizations either (although they probably don’t do as good of a job anyway).

When some women would rather die than continue in their situation, I think you can start to understand why they will need lots of long-term help to get over what they’ve been through, especially in countries where women have no power what-so-ever.

The first 3 are purely to fight human trafficking and provide support for victims.  Samaritans Purse is an international charity organization with many programs for women, in addition to their other programs.  Look them over.

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