4 things on my Do Not Want list.

In preparation for my 50-mile trail race... ... IN 12 DAYS...

... I've been thinking of things I need to do. And pack. And do. And eat. And pack to eat. And do to pack. To eat. It's all very confusing. Preparing yourself for a possible 12 hours of running is time-consuming. If I wasn't running, I would do a lot of things in those 12 hours. Namely, eat. And, you know, go to the bathroom. Probably watch a good three or four episodes of whatever random HBO series I'm catching up on. But mostly I'd eat and go to the bathroom. We're going all Back to the Basics here: eat, poop, run. Repeat.

I told my friend Marty that there are four things that cannot happen to me on race day. Real things. Things I am legitimately concerned about happening. If these four things do not happen to me, even once, in the course of 50 miles, this will be a success. Are you ready?

I Do Not Want:

1. To poop my pants.

2. To pee in my shoes.

3. To twist an ankle.

4. To have to walk for 15 miles.

In that order. Did everyone write that down? He asked me whether any of those things have happened to me during a run in the past. Well, no. No they haven't. Except those two -- maybe five -- times I almost pooped my pants mid-stride. But I can safely say that no, I have neither pooped my pants, peed in my shoes, twisted an ankle nor had to walk for 15 miles during any sort of training run.

I've been assured, because of these things, that none of them can possibly happen to me during my 50-miler because there can be nothing new on race day. Of course, he was being a little facetious, but I'm going to take him very seriously and raise hell if I poop my pants at mile 33.

(Although, race regulations strictly state that all poop must be buried a foot deep at least 50 feet from the trail, out of eyesight of other runners, 100 feet from water sources, sealed in Ziploc baggies and marked with a planted tree. OK, some of that is not real. But most of it is.)

All kidding aside, THIS IS HARD. So much thinking involved! You'd think running for all those hours would be enough, but then you also have to use your mind to remember all of the OTHER things you need to do for all of that time. What nutritional items should I carry with me? How much can I carry with me? What should I leave with my friends? What should I depend on at aid stations? Why won't someone else do this for me?

I made a list for my friends of the things they should remember to have on hand at all times. That list consisted of Clif Shot Bloks, Fig Newtons, glitter ponies, a My Little Pony and Milk Stout Beer from Left Hand Brewery. So clearly my priorities are not straight.

I have to consider how much water to carry. Whether to pack fresh shoes for part-way through the race, and if so, how far into the race? What to wear. What NOT to wear. What food to carry. What food to pack. How often to eat. How often to drink. Why I signed up for this. Whether to take up smoking when it's over.

It's all very confusing.

This is a confusing time for me, friends. Be gentle. Pack diapers.