Whew, lots to update you all with, but I will keep it brief. I ran my final long training run before my trip on Sunday. 40 miles in a little under 8 hours. I even took some video that I will post shortly. Between my Camelback and a small fanny pack, I think I am set to carry enough supplies. I stopped by the local running store and bought a case of sports beans and a new bottle of electrolyte tablets. That mix seemed to cover me pretty well along the 40 mile run so I'm hoping it will work on the Great Wall. Interestingly, while the heat on my 40 mile run caused me some grief I think the benefit was that it forced me to slow down enough that I had almost no muscle soreness the next day. I did have a few blisters so I picked up some new socks too. I was tempted to get some new shoes, but I think it is probably too late to experiment with a new shoe even if I had some blister issues with my current pair of Brooks Adrenaline.
If you are interested in the route I will be taking on my Great Wall Run, a FAQ of part of the route can be found at the Great Wall Forum here. Right now my plan is to get a hotel at or near Simatai and run to Jinshanlin and possibly on to Gubeikou (these are gates along the Wall with tourist access). My understanding is that there is a trail along the wall that is often used that I can follow. I'm still messing around with the Google map that I found of the Wall so I don't know exact distances yet. The FAQ states that one can walk from Simatai to Jinshanlin in 3 to 4 hours. I estimate that I can probably run that easily in 2 hours--so that will make a good stop to refill on water. Luckily, I still remember how to ask for bottled water in Chinese :). Apparently, it is possible to walk from Simatai to Gubeikou in one day so I'm guessing that I can probably run from Simatai to Gubeikou and back while using Jinshanlin as a "aid station." I'll use my GPS to track when I reach 25 miles out and just turn around at that point--either before or after Gubeikou, as necessary.
Forum posts indicate that I will have cell phone access the entire way and I have already gotten a hold of an international cell phone with a Chinese phone number. I'll have a camera and a small video camera with me to document the event. I would like to thank all of those who have already donated! Thank you Mom, Dad, Sandra, Andre, Cruz, Jason, Greg, Gail, Scott, Kelly, Karen, Aunt Edith, and Uncle Wilson! If I have time, I think I will borrow Tim's and Deb's idea of writing everyone's names down to carry with me on the run. I have a suspicion that the solitude of this run might make the whole thing especially intense.
On a final note, I placed the order for the t-shirts yesterday and they should be ready and in the mail to everyone before I leave a week from today.