This post is part six in the training series for those participants in this year’s March for the Fallen event.

We are about 2 weeks out from the event and Dave Babulak is helping educate March for the Fallen participants with tips/pointers each week leading up to the event.

Dave’s knowledge package will include the following:

Here is Dave’s fourth installment in the series: Secret Weapons

Two weeks! Hopefully, your training is going well.

I recommend making this week your final long hike. Taper with half your longest distance next week and then it’s go-time. If you are hurt or banged up, worry less about training and more about using the time to heal.

This week we have a summary of the all the secret weapons we’ve discussed. In an attempt to make it a fair fight, I’m using (almost) all of them. This is your big opportunity to generate your own alpha!

Prevent blisters before they start with Leukotape. I’ve had a lot of success taping the night before and sleeping with sock liners.

Get a little extra padding with shoe inserts, like Columbia Montrails.

Wear compression shorts to get a performance boost and reduce friction.

Use hiking poles. Legs will be working hard. Why should the upper body get to be a slacker?

  • Reminder: please do not use metal tips on paved sections of the course.

Water is important but over 9 hours we’ll need electrolytes.

Consume and drink carbs to help fuel the body as we go.

Oh, apparently Advil is for suckers and we all should get on the meldonium. Yeah, yeah your heart might explode, but glory from finishing MFTF is priceless!

A more detailed logistics plan will follow but here’s your warning order with a few things to consider as you make your final preparations.

Ft Indiantown Gap is a bare bones facility. There is a Wal-Mart 20 min away but once we are on post, expect austerity. I assume most of you are just getting back from Burning Man, so you are already well practiced in the art of Radical Self-Reliance. For the march, maybe scale back a bit on the Radical Self-Expression but Radical Self-Reliance is a good concept to bring to Ft Indiantown Gap. Personally, I think about it in terms of expected utility. As an example,

E[U of Dave’s morning] = p(Dave has no toilet paper) * U(Dave has no toilet paper) + p(Dave has tp) * U(Dave has tp).

Since I generally prefer to avoid events with negative expected utility, I intend to reduce p(Dave has no tp) to 0. I’m not saying, I’m just saying.

In the barracks we get a bunk. That means a mattress. No sheets, no blankets, no pillows. I’m bringing a sleeping bag. The barracks are open bay and that means noise and light. I’m bringing earplugs and an eye mask.

The barracks will be very full. Don’t expect much in the way of personal space.

Those with sleep apnea and acute snoring fear not. The second floor will provide an opportunity for you to form community bonds and discuss the latest developments in CPAP technology.

There is no breakfast. No mess hall, no bagels, no coffee. Yeah, I just typed that. The barracks does have some outlets if you are so inclined addicted. I recommend eating something before the march but that means bringing your own food.

Last year we did not have access to the barracks after the march. We cleared out, cleaned up and locked the door pre-march. The barracks were no longer ours when most of us finished. Tip: if you need to shower after the march, make a plan.

The good news is our barracks is across the street from the start line. With a little planning and prep, it will be a fun and unique experience. Leave things to chance and it may just be “unique”.

Stay healthy!



PS: You are on reading this for the following reasons:

  1. You’re probably insane.
  2. You are already signed up for the 2017 March for the Fallen (“MFTF”).
  3. You’ve said you are going to sign up. (pro-tip: sign up now!)
  4. You’ve said you would never do it in a million years, but I decided I’d guilt trip you into doing the event anyway. (pro-tip: sign up now!)