I've started preparing for Heartland in earnest. Over the last few weeks I:
Bought three plastic laundry bags at the Dollar Store to use for Drop Bags
Bought two more packs of double-wide wrist sweat bands
Bought 6 Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bars
Ordered a case of Clip2 Energy Drink
Saved plastic grape juice bottles to fill with Clip2 and put in my drop bags
Filled four gel flasks with Hammer Gel (mix of Espresso and Vanilla)
Prepared a race plan and drop bag checklist
Bought a laminating kit so I can print out and laminate my race plan and attach it to my Camelbak
Bought bag tags that can be laminated and attached to my drop bags
Made sure all my race clothes are washed and ready to go
I still need to find some moleskin in case I have blisters. I've never had a problem with blisters in the past, but I want to be prepared.
The race has three manned and three unmanned aid stations. The course is out and back, so I'll get to visit each aid station twice. That's a lot of aid stations for a 50 mile race. My plan is that I will NOT stop in the unmanned aid stations (if water is readily available I will grab it and go). I will stop in two manned aid stations (Battle Creek and Lapland) for no more than five minutes to refill my Camelbak, grab a new wristband or hat if needed, get more Clif Bars or Gel, etc. At the Teterville Road aid station, which is 1/2 mile before and after the turnaround, I will stop once (after the turnaround, so at 25.5 miles). I've scheduled 15 minutes in this aid station in case I need time to change socks and shoes, treat blisters, etc. However, I would love to get in and out quickly. If I stick to my goal race pace (13:00 per mile) and my aid station strategy (total of 35 minutes, which I think is generous) I will finish in 11:25. I'm hoping my pace is a little faster and I spend a little less time in the aid stations, so maybe I will come in faster than that.
Later today I'm actually going to fill my drop bags so I make sure I have everything I need. Then I'll think about what to wear (I want to pick clothes to minimize chafing). Then I'll wait. This tapering is awful. I'm going to walk 5-10 easy miles tomorrow, then walk Tuesday, then no more walking until the race. I'm really, really excited--it's going to be a long week!