Sue, Jim & Cody on the 14,433' summit of MT Elbert, CO - The highest peak in the Rocky Mountains


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Runtrails' 2005 AT Journal
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PREP #25:  READY TO ROLL        April 26
ďStart by doing whatís necessary, then do whatís possible, and suddenly, you are doing the impossible.Ē   - Saint Francis of Assisi

Spring flowers at Explore Park 4-25-05

Countdown: two days till our departure for Georgia and one of the biggest adventures of my life! 

Iíve finally recovered from the nasty stomach virus that zapped my energy the last six days (I know other folks around here whoíve had it, too.)  I suppose I needed the rest, but that was a tough way to get it.

I was unable to do my last long run on the AT, or even at Explore Park.

On Saturday while Jim ran David Hortonís tough Promise Land 50K, I did a hilly 5-mile walk on the course and was just exhausted. I was on my feet a lot, also helping at the start and finish for several hours, but on a normal day it wouldnít have fazed me.

Sunday I felt better so I attempted a 30-mile/8-hour (whichever came first) run at Explore Park, but had to bag it after 19 miles. I felt reasonably good for 15 miles, given my weakened condition. Then I was toast and dragged the last four miles. Reason won out over determination. I decided it was better to be under-trained than just get more worn down.

After a deep massage and thorough chiropractic adjustment yesterday, I feel like a new woman today. The bloating and pain are gone, I can eat normally again, and my spirits are back up. Iím ready to go get Ďem!


Iíve been experimenting with my energy plan in the six weeks since I wrote Prep9 about nutrition and hydration. Here is a summary of my current plan: 

        Keep water only in my 100-oz. Camelbak bladder. Use it to wash down the Hammergel, Perpetuem, and Sustained Energy. 

        Carry 3X strength Perp or SE mixed with water in a 20-oz. bottle I carry in my hand. Use water from bladder to wash it down. One bottle of concentrated mix will last me several hours, alternated with gel. If I need more, I can either carry some of the powder in a little baggie and mix it with water from the bladder or another source, or carry a 28-oz. bottle at 4X or 5X strength. 

        Use Hammergel at rate of one flask per hour or two (alternate with electrolyte beverage Iím using that day). Iíve got six flavors of gel, so I shouldnít tire of any one flavor. The caffeinated espresso will perk me up if Iím sluggish. 

        Take Enduroltye electrolyte capsules as needed. On hot days, two per hour work best for me, on cool days, only one/hour. This will probably vary on the trek, depending on distance, weather, my condition, etc. 

        Recoverite tastes good. Iíve used this recovery drink only once, so Iíll report back later re: how well itís doing for me. We have two containers of Endurox 4 left over from last year. Iíll also be using it until itís gone Ė unless the Recoverite is obviously superior. 

Iíve been consuming about 20 oz. of fluids per hour on warm days, less on cooler ones. With all the chatter on the ultra list recently about hyponatremia, Iím well aware of that problem.

Much of my adventure run is going to be in hot conditions in June and July during the middle part of the trek, so Iíll have to continue fine-tuning the water/electrolyte balance. Historically, dehydration has been a bigger problem  in the summer for thru-hikers than hyponatremia.


Weíve barely begun packing the camper yet, but Iím not worried Ė I have a list!   

Jim and I have gone to so many races over the years that we have master lists for every mode of travel (car, plane, camper) and race distance (100-milers and sub-100s). Itís easy to make sure we have everything we need.  

Of course, thereís always something else we wish we had! The list keeps getting longer . . . 

The concept of packing what we need for four months along the Trail may sound overwhelming, but after our cross-country adventure in the camper last year, this is a piece of cake. 

In January of 2004, Jim retired and we sold our house in Billings, Montana. While we were showing the house and packing to move, there was over a foot of snow on the ground and the temps were frigid. Since we didnít know where we were going to be moving (it was definitely going to be somewhere warmer!!), we put all of our belongings in storage. That was a lot of fun in sub-zero weather! 

You talk about lists Ė there were several:  what to sell, what to donate to charitable organizations, what to put in storage, and what to take in the camper for goodness-knows-how-long weíd be full-timing until we decided on which side of the country we were going to live. That was one stuffed camper for the four months we lived in it!  

So packing for this trip seems easy in comparison. The weather in Virginia has been nice and we don't need to take nearly as much "stuff." We also have an ďoutĒ Ė weíre returning home every two to four weeks for a day or two at a time, so we can always get what we need then.

Still, thereís a lot to get in that camper by tomorrow night, and Iíd better get busy . . .

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody, and Tater

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