Scatter my ashes here...

Scatter my ashes here...
scatter my ashes in the desert...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Badwater 2010

Badwater 2010 was a memorable, smooth race for the runners and the medical team.

The highlight of the race for me was seeing Jack Denness reach his goal of finishing Badwater at age 75. Jamie Donaldson from Denver broke her own womens' course record by about 35 minutes, the men's winner was Zach Gingerich, who placed high last year. Seeing Jorge Pacheco, Oswaldo Lopez, and Marcos Farinazzi, all contenders for the men's title, gutting it out through the race even though their races didn't go as planned, they all finished in admirable performances.

We treated a few runners for dehydration and a few other concerns but nothing serious, no serious hyponatremia, no IVs were necessary, and we almost didn't have to use the I-Stat. There was drama, as usual, with some of the crews and runners, but it was very calm the whole way through. We were mostly sitting around waiting. We went up to the finish line, went out on the course, and everyone looked good. There were only 7 DNFs out of a field of 80 starters.

I started my week off by going to Phoenix first, and visiting my dad and stepmom. The next day I flew to Las Vegas, spent the night there and got my supplies at Wal Mart the next morning, then took off for Furnace Creek. When I arrived in Furnace Creek it was 120 degrees.

At the pre-race briefing Lisa got inducted into the Badwater Hall of Fame for her contributions to the race as medical director and her two great performances there including her win in 2007.

After the pre-race briefing we had our dinner and medical team meeting and then went through the supplies.

John Vonhof along with Denise Jones and Jacquie Florine provided foot care for the runners. John's book, Fixing Your Feet, will be in it's fifth edition later this year.

Lisa and Tim went to the 6 am start, then Kim, Jeff, and I went down for the 8:00 start and weighed the runners in, then we watched the start and some of us went back to Furnace Creek while the others stayed through the 10:00 start.

We waited around Furnace Creek with no business until it was time to close up shop and go to Stovepipe Wells with all the medical equipment. It was Tim's birthday so Lisa ordered something that he had to share with the rest of us.

Paul Grimm, and Dale Perry, his crew member, both from Colorado.

In Stovepipe Wells last year it was busy. This year we had maybe a half dozen runners who neded oral replacement salts and fluid and they got up and went back on the course. Mark and I drove up Towne Pass around sunset to checek on runners. Most looked amazingly good even with the hot headwind they were fighting, going uphill.

This year I went ahead earlier to Lone Pine. Most of the runners were moving very well and it looked like it was going to be more of a pack coming in instead of being spread far apart. I got some sleep that night and in the morning we watched the front runners come through town. Jamie came through and she was flying. She looked great.

Early in the afternoon Megan and I went up to the finish line to hang out there for the rest of the afternoon. It was fun watching the finishers. We really didn't have any medical issues at the finish line either. Tim and Mark relieved us around 8 pm and then Dave went up there to spend the night.

There was very little medical business in Lone Pine that night, Sally was in the medical room and she got to sleep, too, and Megan and I got some decent sleep.

Really the most interesting thing that happened had something to do with this:

Wednesday morning most of us went for a run. I got an hour and a half run in, in the Alabama Hills above Lone Pine. I had a great view of Whitney and the Owens Valley. Later we went through the medical supplies for next year, waited while the rest of the runners went through town, and we heard that Jack Denness was on target to finish.

We went to the post-race pizza party and we gave Jack two standing ovations when he enetered the school cafeteria where we had the party, and when Chris brought him up on stage for recognition with the other finishers.

Jack said something to the effect of, "75 is just a number". Art Webb had another sub-48 hour performance at age 68, too.

We all said our good-byes on Wednesday evening, Tim and Lisa and Mark were going to climb Whitney, the rest of us were going separate ways. Megan is going to be the medical director starting next year. I told her I'd do it again in the future, but I really hope to be running the race in 2011.

Thursday morning I drove back through the valley to get to Las Vegas. The temperature hit 125 degrees. Coming home took forever, the flight was delayed in Vegas, then we waited on the ground forever, arrived in Denver late, baggage claim took forever, and then finally ot on the shuttle to parking, got my car, and then there was late night construction traffic on I-25 going north, going 10 mph near Berthoud.I was hungry, sleep deprived, and thought I would never get home. Finally I did.

My anxiety about starting my new job and being able to stick to my current running plans was relieved as soon as I got back. Today I got my schedule for the next month and it's awesome. Today I went out and got all new scrubs, new work shoes, and when I start my new job, I'm burning all of the old stuff. Actually donating it to Goodwill, but I like the idea of burning it. Maybe I will burn one thing, just to make it official, and it will feel great!


Rick said...

Welcome back, Alene. I didn't realize Badwater area was so close to Las Vegas. Did you get to talk to Jamie Donaldson? I remember reading an article about her (Littleton Math teacher...).

As an aside, I noticed the race director for the marathon I'm doing in Oct is Ann Trason. If I see her maybe I'll ask her about Leadville.


Alene Gone Bad said...

Hi Rick,

It feels cool here compared to the 122 yesterday on my way to Vegas.

Hahaha. Asking Ann Trason about Leadville...just make sure you stand clear. Or bring a barf bag.

Jamie looked awesome, she was smiling all the way when she didn't have her game face on. She was moving better than anybody.

JeffO said...

Great shot of Paul! I'll send him the link.

Lisa B said...

I got off the plane in Spokane and scrambled for my fleece! It was 70 degrees. :)

Alene, thanks for sharing this. It was really a wonderful time (again) this year. A little quieter, which was certainly helpful for getting some sleep. I so appreciate all your help on the Team. You are a strong presence there and everyone has deep confidence in your skills. Also your smiles go a long way to make everyone (including us!) keep up the cheer even when we've been up for a long time.

I hope to see you along the road somewhere soon.

Best wishes always,


JohnnyTri said...

Great Recap of Badwater!!
its soo amazing!!!

this was my 2nd year to crew and you're right, the sunrise, sunsets and everything in between is so unforgettable.

I crewed for #21 Susannah Harvey-Jamieson from Australia.

cant wait to do it again next year, I hope I can find someone to crew for!!


Alene Gone Bad said...

Thanks for your comments JohnnyTri. Hope to see you at BW next year. Didn't your runner tough it out with some bad heat rash or burns on her ankles or lower legs? I think it was her. I'm glad she was able to finish.
Good luck with your running!

Robert James Reese said...

Great report. I enjoyed the videos. Good luck to you in 2011!

Alene Gone Bad said...


I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit of a Badwater finish. If you go back to my old posts from 2008 there is plenty in there about preparation and training. There is nothing like it. Hope to see you one of these days in Furnace Creek!