Thought I'd post a few updates without starting a new thread:
I've lightened my load
I'm down to a baseweight of roughly 7.5 lbs now, which I imagine will put me just under 15 when I'm fully loaded on day one. I'd like to take this down even further and will post a gear list within the next week or so once I've retooled everything and weighed it.
Notable gear additions are a JRB Sierra Sniveller quilt that I just picked up from Gear Swap, and an ID Siltarp 1, also from Gear Swap. Gotta love this forum!
Training is going well
I've been doing a little over 100 miles per month. Nearly every training hike or run has been with a ~15 lbs pack and I've had a couple of big mileage days in there. My best so far is 35 miles in 11 hours and 55 minutes. Many of my training hikes and runs have doubled as reconnaissance, and I've done just under half of the 116 mile trail in sections.
I'm also eating way better and have lost about 12 lbs since my initial post here. That's made a pretty big difference in my performance.
I've got my clothing / footwear system down
Based on many peoples' recommendations, I picked up a Patagonia Capilene 2 t-shirt and love it. This will be my baselayer for the hike. I also picked up some Mountain Hardwear Canyon Pants. I know some people would do this hike in shorts, but I prefer a light pair of pants to keep prickers, bugs, and sun off my legs.
I've put about 200 miles on my Inov-8 Roclite 315's and those are here to stay. Paired with Injinji merino socks, they're perfect. I may switch to Injinji Coolmax for the summer, though.
Still haven't picked up a new pair of boxer-briefs, but a combination of losing weight and using Body Glide has done away with the chafing problem.
Honestly, things are going better than I guessed they would. What seemed like an insane goal when I started this thread now seems realistic. 20 miles doesn't seem like much at all anymore. I can knock out 12 miles before noon, go home, and carry on with the rest of my day as normal. I definitely have everyone who's responded with their insight to thank.
Some simple bits of advice, like sizing up a half size on my shoes and training myself to never stop moving while climbing have been invaluable. So seriously, thanks.
I've decided to up the ante a bit. As far as I know, no one has set an FKT for this trail. Since there's a shot my three day hike will be the fastest anyone's ever done it, I'm thinking I might as well just go for an FKT and do it as fast as I can.
So here's me publicly announcing my intent to attempt an FKT for the Metacomet-Monadnock Trail. I realize that by setting a public record, someone is likely to come along and beat it within a year or so, but it'll be fun to try and set a fast record nonetheless.
The tentative dates for the hike are June 26-28, so that gives me about two more months to get some massive training in.
My new goal is going to be to do this in under 58 hours, or over an average of 2 MPH for the entire hike. This will involve some night hiking, which I'll admit freaks me out a bit. I've done plenty of night hikes with my wife and with friends, but hiking solo in the dark for hours on end seems a bit unnerving. I'll have to start doing some of this straight away to get used to it.
Now that I'm thinking in FKT terms, I'm even more concerned about crossing the Connecticut river. I'd like to do this "unsupported", but hitching a boat ride across will definitely throw that into question for some people. Is there anyone who actually "makes the rules" on these types of thing? In my opinion, swimming a 1/4 mile in strong currents on a heavily-used river after hiking 27 miles is just stupid. It'd be different if I had someone in a boat as a spotter, but since it's an unsupported hike, I can't.
In favor of weight and efficiency, I've decided to leave the stove at home for this one. I'm thinking my diet will consist of entirely Clif Bars and Perpetuum, save a couple of candy bars at night. I haven't actually tried Perpetuum yet, but I've used Hammer Gel on sub 3 hour runs with success and expect Perpetuum will work just as well for me. I'll be picking some up in the next week or two and trying it out on my big mileage days.
Can anyone see anything wrong with the above diet? I'm not in danger of hurting myself or hitting a wall, am I?
Also, does anyone here take painkillers when doing ultra-type trips? So far, I've neglected to take any, but I also haven't done huge miles multiple days in a row yet. It seems like popping a few ibuprofin on this trip might help get the job done. Thoughts?
Anyway, thanks again everyone. Any and all tips, concerns, etc are welcome.