Saturday, July 31, 2010

Badwater part 2

As the race continued, and our routines established, Hung was moving along nicely it was time for some pacing. Dave paced for a few miles at first, then I took over. I think it was about 2 or 3 pm. Certainly it was hot. It wasn't pacing, exactly, we had to follow behind the runner, carrying a spraybottle filled with ice water and keep him wet so that evaporative cooling could take place.

I think at this point, I paced for an hour or two. The next stint was after Townes Pass, which we hit somewhere arond midnight. It started off with a 10 mile downhill run. Can anyone say fried quads? I managed to find the only rock on road and rolled my ankle pretty badly. Visions of finding an ER filled my mind as I honestly thought I may have broken my foot, there was certainly a loud pop when it rolled. I told Hung to keep running while I limped for a few minutes. The pain did ease off as I kept moving, so it seemed just a slightly worse than typical ankle roll. I paced around 20 miles this time, which included the bulk of the climb to Father Crowley's point.

Hung struggled through the night, it was a hotter night than last year and perhaps he had also put in too much effort during the heat of the day. Either way, we just kept him moving. Approaching the summit though, he was done and needed a rest. I think he slept for about 30 minutes while I repaired a blister. We were parked by a gorgeous canyon, and the sunrise was quite spectacular.

Dr. Jimbo works on a blister

Once rested, Hung started running again, and for the next few hours, 10 minute naps became quite common (maybe once an hour). These little breaks did Hung wonders and he started picking up the pace.

Around 100 miles, Hung really picked it up - a combination of starting to wear the ice water soaked hood again plus probably a sense of "let's just get this thing done". No one was pacing, we crewed at half mile intervals, and time was starting to go by quickly. This second wind lasted all the way to Lone Pine at mile 122. I got a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake. Yum.

As we climbed out of Lone Pine to the finish, we had a cheerleading squad following us up. Amy Palmeiro-Winters (who had unfortunately dropped earlier) and her awesome "Girl-Power" crew (aka - The Pink Chicks" were a lot of fun, and certainly helped make time fly for the last few miles.

Hung and the Pink Chicks

Finally, after 35:56:xx, Hung was finished. The whole thing was an amazing experience, and one that I look forward to repeating. Would I want to run it? Not sure, there is a little piece of me that would, although the costs are scary. I know for a fact that if I was running, I would be more than happy to have "Team Hung" as a crew. Considering none of us really knew one another at the start of all of this, it is great how we all bonded, and I now have four new friends.

Great times.

Team Hung and the Pink Chick at the finish

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How hot is Death Valley?? Badwater part 1

It's hot, very hot. But it's a dry heat.

It was an interesting journey to say the least. One day a few weeks ago, I received a text from my friend Shannon, "Hey do you want to crew at Badwater?" A quick glance of the calendar and I realized that it may just work out - you see a few days after Badwater, I would be running a race at Tahoe..... Hmmmm. I sent a message back, "sure". Unfortunately, that particular opportunity didn't pan out. By the time I had learned that, I did have a desire to crew. So, I posted to the Badwater blog, that I am willing, and would do anything for a beer ans a t-shirt.

Next thing I knew, I was being emailed by Hung Ng to see if I wanted to be on his team. Hell yes.

So, here I was with four random souls in a mini-van. I had met one of them briefly before Umstead - that was Rico. There was also Dave, Aubrey and of course our runner Hung.

It was quite astonishing how we all bonded quite quickly really - and by the end of it all, I had four new friends.

So, what does a crew do? In no particular order, drive the van, resupply, cool off the runner, pace the runner, blister repair, keep the runner hydrated, motivate, etc etc etc. It is tiring, at times quite intense, and very rewarding when it all comes together.

Before the start, Aubrey coats Hung with Sunscreen

The heat for the first part of the run is incredible - I believe we had temperature in the range of 120F - the road temp was over 160F. But it's a dry heat.

Dave soaking Hung's hood

Rico and the van

Jimbo and the van

The scenery is, well, scenery. Bland yet beautiful. The vastness is hard to describe. All you can see is desert, mountains, runners and crew, and a shimmer rising from the ground. It certainly reminds me of those pictures that came from the Mars Rover

It took a few miles to get our routine together, but after a while, it went something like this: Dave would grab Hung's hood and soak it in iced water. Rico would make Hung step into a shopping bag so that his feet would remain dry, Aubrey and I would spray him with iced water while offering up water and sportsdrink. And he would start to run on, and we would prepare for the next stop half a mile later...........

More to follow........

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bad Blogging, Bolloxing The Boogie and Badwater

I've not been too good on the blogging front have I? I know why too, it's because I "Bolloxed The Boogie". Yeah, I hosed that one up.

Let's think about what I said leading up to the race, things like "I'm going for a PR", or after the successful Enoree Passage, "I hope this doesn't give me unrealistic expectations".

Basically, I dropped after 26 miles. A little while later, I added 0.2 miles to make up the marathon. The heat gave me some problems - not the heat on its own of course, but add in a few fast miles at the start (first 3 miles in 27:xx), and I think I overheated and didn't give myself an opportunity to cool down, plus I had stomach problems which meant a few emergency dashes into the woods where the energy (literally and figuratively) drained out of me. Just a rough rough night.

As last year, the race was wonderfully well organized, friendly people (Susan at the main aidstation did a great job cheering me up afterwards).

Such is life I suppose - I am cross at myself to be honest, I needed to respect the distance more. I will in futire, I promise.

Badwater - well, whaddya know? Next week, I will be heading to California to crew for Hung Ng in the 135 mile race across Death Valley. Wow, what a privelige. Hung came 19th last year. It will be a great experience for me, then of course after Badwater, I will be heading up to Tahoe for the TRT. It looks like it will be a great vacation for me!